If Jamie Shackleton’s career stood in the Colosseum waiting for the crowd’s judgement, he might just about get a thumbs up. So, in our latest instalment of Introducing, we’ll take a look as to why we’ve come to that conclusion.
Frankly, it’s about time Leeds United gave their prodigy a chance to shine.
There have been times this season when Leeds have struggled to break teams down, despite dominating possession and just about every other relevant statistic. Dire moments that were literally crying out for the introduction of a young, vibrant talent like Shackleton to enter the fray, spread their wings and take flight.
Indeed, these occasions have come too sparingly with just 595 minutes of Championship football to his name but WhoScored do rank traits such as passing, holding onto the ball and key passes as strengths of his, something the team could use when it comes to breaking opposition teams down.
United’s boss has spent the majority of the season trying to remodel the talented midfielder as a right-back behind current starter Luke Ayling (a massive waste in our opinion), but Shackleton’s ability to control the game and shine in the centre of the park, which recently revealed itself in all its glory in the play-offs, has changed Bielsa’s view of how he should be used.
You name it, the 19-year-old has it. Pace? Tick. Box-to-box energy? Tick. An attacking brain to boot? Tick.
The Whites are simply crying out for some attacking impetus in their current waning line-up which has seen a number of players go missing at times in the number 10 role – including Tyler Roberts, Mateusz Klich and Kemar Roofe. Bielsa himself bemoaned the lack of lethal finishing towards the end of the season so perhaps turning to an in-house solution to help provide more chances can be a useful tool next season.
Even at his age and level of experience, he boasted some pretty decent numbers, recording two assists as well as 0.3 key passes per game. Pretty promising, right? Obviously, he needs to build on this, but there does appear to be quite the attacker in there.
While the transfer window could prove to be an obstacle for Shackleton’s first team dreams – with Bielsa surely aiming to bring in more experienced players to plug some very evident holes – on the strength of his recent performances, there’s every bit of evidence to suggest that Jamie Shackleton could be Leeds’ secret weapon going forward.
Leeds United fans, do you agree that Shackleton needs more time on the pitch? Where would you play him? Let us know in the comments below…
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