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A talented midfield operator who is perhaps best utilised in the middle, and one of the three players shortlisted for the Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year award in 2017.
Arguably his finest performance of the 2015/16 season came in the FA Youth Cup tie against QPR when he scored and also provided the incisive through ball that led to Marcus Rashford earning - and scoring - the penalty winner. Whelan has progressed through the system after joining the club as an eight year old. The midfield pivot played 30 times, more than any of his colleagues, in his last season as an Under-18 and was a permanent fixture in Kieran McKenna's plans. He also made his Reserves debut in a 2-0 defeat to Porto in the Premier League International Cup. After stepping up to the Under-23s on a permanent basis in 2017/18, he only made five starts for Ricky Sbragia’s men (plus a further four substitute appearances), but his positivity and determination saw him grow in stature and become a regular in the side the following season. In January 2019 his hard work and stellar performances were rewarded with a loan move to League Two club Port Vale.