Noel Whelan praises Leeds' Caleb Ekuban, but suggests his main problem with striker

General view of Elland Road before the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Sheffield Wednesday at Elland Road on February 25, 2017 in Leeds, England.

Caleb Ekuban has done extremely well since he came back into the Leeds United side.

A general view of Elland Road Stadium prior to the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Brighton & Hove Albion at Elland Road on October 17, 2015 in Leeds, England.

Noel Whelan told BBC Radio Leeds' live post-match coverage of Leeds' Championship clash with Aston Villa (broadcast on 1st December 2017 from 19:00) that he has been extremely impressed by Caleb Ekuban during his recent run in the side, but insisted that he had one issue with the striker.

Ekuban has been excellent since coming back into the fold after a number of weeks on the sidelines due to injury, winning the supporters over with a number of tireless displays that have undoubtedly been one of the reasons for the Whites' upturn in form lately.

Thomas Christiansen manager of Leeds United looks on during the Sky Bet Championship match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Leeds United at Molineux on November 22, 2017 in...

He was impressive once again in Friday's draw with Aston Villa, putting the Villans defenders under pressure with his pace that often meant that he was in contention to win a long ball even if the opposition had a head-start. And Whelan was full of praise for his contribution, but questioned whether Ekuban - who is still awaiting his first goal for the club in the Championship - should be Leeds' first-choice striker long-term.

"Yeah, he puts in a shift, he makes clever runs. He's a strong lad, he can hold the ball up, works tirelessly for the team across the line and tracking back as well," he told BBC Radio Leeds.

General view of Elland Road before the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Sheffield Wednesday at Elland Road on February 25, 2017 in Leeds, England.

"I do think we miss that out and out goalscorer that's not just going to lead the line and do the hard work and diagonal runs and run the channels but is also going to get the goals as well. I think that's where we're lacking.

"I see enough about him that he'd be a good player to have, but I can't see 20 goals a season in him. That's my issue here. We've let one go, but we've not replaced him with another striker that's going to get you those 20 goals," he added.

There are certainly encouraging signs for Ekuban that he may not be far off contributing goals, with the Ghanaian squandering great chances against Barnsley and Villa. 

However, his lack of goals may perhaps leave Thomas Christiansen with a selection dilemma in the near future. Pierre-Michel Lasogga - who is currently sidelined - has scored a number of goals since arriving on loan, but a lot of the boxes that Ekuban ticks tend to be left unchecked when the German is leading the line, so the Dane will need to make a decision on whether the former's overall contribution makes him the better option to have in the team.

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