Luke Ayling, Gaetano Berardi, Lewie Coyle and Stuart Dallas. All players that were ahead of Jamie Shackleton at right-back in the summer, and yet the youngster could be seen tearing up the right-hand side at Elland Road today, putting in a very impressive performance.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Shackleton, far from it actually. This is the first time he’s come into the side and will get a good run though. With Stuart Dallas now out for around six weeks and Gaetano Berardi and Luke Ayling are out for some time as well. There are literally no other viable options at right-back unless we dip back into the under 23’s which is happening time and time again this season, and working out quite well. Shackleton is a central midfielder by trade but Bielsa saw something in him during pre-season and has slowly converted him into a right-back.
The youngster didn’t look off the pace at all today and was comfortable defensively and make his mark going forward. Constantly getting down the right and got a few good balls into the box. His technical ability from playing in a central midfield role is clear to see, he controls the ball well and can make clever angles where full-backs are normally more direct.
Leeds are not only counting on the youngsters to make up the numbers this season they are contributing to a very good season. Baily Peacock-Farrell and Kalvin Phillips are two of the first names on the team sheet and Jack Clarke is one of the hottest properties in the Football League currently, and will only get better. Aapo Halme has featured in the last month and has impressed, today he was brought on after Matt Smith appeared and he did very well.
Jamie Shackleton took his chance today, and there are more on the way.