Former Leeds United star Noel Whelan has sounded the alarm over youngster Jack Clarke, calling for the Whites to lock him down on a long-term contract as he is aware Liverpool are sniffing around. 

Clarke has burst into the first team scene under head coach Marcelo Bielsa this season and continues to be handed regular game time by the veteran Argentine tactician.

He started Sunday afternoon's 3-2 win at Aston Villa on the bench, but Bielsa introduced him at half time and he went on to play a key role as the Whites came from behind to secure all three points.

Given Clarke's progress, Whelan wants to see Leeds take urgent steps to lock him down on a fresh contract.

And he feels with Liverpool watching closely, signing Clarke up on improved terms is more important that whether or not Bielsa is picking him to start games.

"We all want him to start, but I think Bielsa is managing the young lad correctly.

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"What I would like to see is a long term contract put in front of him to be signed, that's more important to me", Whelan said on BBC Radio Leeds post-match.

"We do know that Liverpool are sniffing around, watching him.

"If they've watched today as well then it's not done the young lad any harm.

"I want to get him tied up and keep him at this football club."

Leeds could receive offers for their players imminently as the January transfer window is just days away from swinging open.

But the Whites will be keen to avoid any disruption as they are strong favourites to win promotion to the Premier League.