Jamie Shackleton’s two outstanding performances in pre-season will give Marcelo Bielsa food for thought amid all the hullabaloo over new midfielders and links to high-profile options, one existing player has become the forgotten man at Elland Road. Jamie Shackleton has proven to be a reliable two-legged player in the Championship, and Whites Coach Marcelo Bielsa has not hesitated to use the young midfielder when needed.
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Since Leeds’ promotion to the Premier League Football, opportunities have been few and far between, and Shackleton has been linked with brief appearances in the closing stages of games when the chosen debutant has tired. As a result, it has largely been forgotten that Shackleton is not only a dynamic midfielder and right-back in the second division, but has also shown the ability to play in the Premier League.
The 21-year-old was a thorn in Aston Villa’s side back in October 2020 when he scored in a convincing away win, but since then his playing time has been limited by injuries and strong competition. He has proved versatile and impressed as a right-back in pre-season, easing concerns over the lack of cover for Luke Ayling, the only experienced player in that position. It is perhaps easy to romanticize players associated with a club, so the talents of players already on the roster are often overlooked.
Shackleton was used in the England U20 squad and is a player Bielsa admires, even if he is not always thought to have a prominent role in the Premier League Football. There was discussion this summer about whether to consider a loan deal, but when evaluating the current squad, Shackleton is still a candidate. This academy graduate is a natural midfielder in a side that plays alongside international talent such as Calvin Phillips and Mateusz Klich in the Premier League Football. For more details about Leeds United VS Everton Tickets.
Leeds also has just one experienced right-back in Luke Ayling following the departure of Gaetano Berardi, and Shackleton could be deployed in that position as well. He put in two impressive performances at the position last week, which isn’t even considered his strongest. The 21-year-old has his best years ahead of him and is capable of filling two key positions where Leeds United lacks depth.
The way the team has been shaped has given Shackleton the opportunity to become a more important member of the squad, albeit initially only as of the first choice in cover. His appearances in strong teams against Blackburn Rovers and Real Betis show that Bielsa is thinking of him, and his decent performances have not hurt his chances of more first-team appearances. A loan deal could bring in new players, but given the recent transfer activity at Elland Road, Shackleton would be better off staying in West Yorkshire for the time being.
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