The 24-year-old has established himself as a regular starter in Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds side since joining from Rennes for around £17m last summer.
Having contributed to 12 goals in the Premier League so far, Raphinha has been one of the Yorkshire-based club’s standout performers this season.
Former Leeds star Whelan has hailed the attacking side of the Brazilian’s game as fantastic and pointed out how the winger is exciting to watch.
However, Whelan went on to reveal that it is Raphinha’s defensive contributions that have impressed him the most and pointed out how he is determined to get the ball back if he loses it.
“You always wonder what he is going to do next, Raphinha, and that is something I really enjoy watching“, Whelan said on LFC TV.
“He is very brave, he is very direct, he loves to have the ball at his feet, it looks like he wants to carry that pressure of the important player out there and to make the difference within the game and the side.
“So, he is a very confident young man, but I think when you look at Raphinha, the way he has come in, the way he has settled so quickly into the style of play, his attacking side of the game [is] absolutely fantastic.
“But what has impressed me is that other side of the game, that horrible side of the game, he loves to defend.
“He is always back there helping out the wing-backs, if he loses the ball he doesn’t feel sorry for himself or walk around, he is the first one to get back goal side.
“And that is very rare in flair players, wanting to do that side of the game as well.“
Whelan will be hoping that Raphinha is on song when Leeds host Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool on Monday.