It has been a roller-coaster of a season to be a Leeds United supporter, hasn’t it?
Following the arrival of Marcelo Bielsa last summer, the Whites have undergone a footballing revolution which has resulted in some stunning displays in the Championship over the last 10 months.
However, despite holding a three-point advantage over promotion challengers Sheffield United mid-way through April, Leeds have ultimately fallen short in the race to finish in the top-two and must now navigate their way through the play-offs in order to secure Premier League football.
Although Bielsa will understandably be prioritising on-the-field matters over the next few weeks, he will also be keeping an eye on how he can strengthen his squad ahead of next season.
According to Gloucestershire Live, one of the players that the Argentine is targeting is Forest Green Rovers midfielder Reece Brown. With his current deal with the League Two side set to expire at the end of the current campaign, Leeds could sign him on a free transfer in July.
Keeping this particular rumour in mind, let’s compare Brown to one of the Whites’ central midfielders…
Since joining Forest Green in 2017 from Birmingham City, Reece Brown has developed into one of the club’s most important and influential players.
Having helped his side avoid relegation to the National League last season, the midfielder has gone from strength to strength this year as his 11 goals and 15 assists have lit up the fourth tier of English football.
Clearly capable of playing at a higher level, Brown could still do so with the Green Devils as they have a chance of achieving promotion via the play-offs later this month.
However, when you consider that he has yet to sign a new deal with the Nailsworth-based outfit, it would not be surprising if he moves on regardless of the outcome of the current season.
TT GRADE: B+
One of several Leeds players who have benefited from Marcelo Bielsa’s trust in the club’s youth academy, Jamie Shackleton made his debut last August at the age of 18 and has impressed in several different positions this season.
Primarily a central midfielder, the Whites graduate has also featured for the club at right back and right wing and has yet to look out of place during any of his performances.
Destined for a big future at Elland Road, Shackleton will be aiming to follow in the footsteps of James Milner and Fabian Delph who both made their bow in professional football for Leeds before going on to play for England.
Regardless of what division the club find themselves in next season, it is crucial that Bielsa continues to aid the development of one of their most exciting prospects by giving him the chance to prove himself over the coming years.
TT GRADE: A-
Although both of these players are incredible young talents, if it comes down to having to pick one to lead the Whites’ midfielder in the future, Bielsa must stick by Shackleton.
Indeed, there is no question that Brown can play at a higher level yet he is arguably a risk that Leeds cannot afford to take.
By trying to integrate the Forest Green ace into their first team plans for next season, the Yorkshire-based outfit could suppress Shackleton’s development which may force him to move on in order to play regular first-team football.
Leeds fans, who wins this battle? Join the discussion by commenting below.
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