Former Leeds United striker claims versatile youngster should replace key midfielder
Former Leeds United striker Noel Whelan has claimed that Jamie Shackleton should replace the suspended Kalvin Phillips for this weekend’s game against Huddersfield Town according to Football Insider.
Phillips has accumulated five bookings so far this season which means he will miss out on the visit to the John Smith’s Stadium leaving Bielsa with somewhat of a selection headache.
There has been speculation that the impressive central defender Ben White could be utilised in defensive midfield but with his partnership with Liam Cooper at the heart of the back four, Whelan believes that Shackleton would be better served to replace Phillips.
“I would like to see Jamie Shackleton in the Kalvin Phillips role,” Whelan said. “If he is fit, he would be the perfect replacement for Kalvin.”
“He’s missed a lot of this season due to injury and having him back is like a new signing. He’s the answer to Marcelo Bielsa’s prayers. He’s got the energy, intelligence, work-rate, mobility, passing range and aggression to play the defensive midfield role.”
“Kalvin is a massive loss, no doubt about that. He’s the best defensive midfielder in the Championship. Jamie Shackleton is good enough to replace him. He was fit last week and wasn’t on the bench on Saturday. We’re unsure what’s wrong with him, but it would be brilliant to see him back in the team.”
Shackleton has only made four league starts so far this campaign with his season having been blighted by injury but with Phillips being such a huge loss to the promotion hopefuls, now could be the time for the 20-year-old to fill the boots of the key midfielder.