Leeds United have a new golden generation of homegrown talent coming through at Elland Road.
Kalvin Phillips, who made his debut in 2014, has been joined by Jack Clarke, Bailey Peacock-Farrell and Jamie Shackleton as first-team regulars this season under manager Marcelo Bielsa. The latter of the four players has demonstrated an outstanding level of versatility for a 19-year-old, appearing in several different positions for the Whites during the 2018/19 campaign.
Naturally a central-midfielder, Shackleton has impressed as both a wing-back and in the hole behind the striker in recent months. However, in terms of his development as a player, it could suit him to choose a specific role to focus on over the next few years. Many players have seen their careers stall due to a lack of identity and therefore it is important that the Whites ace is given the chance by Bielsa to establish himself in his best position.
This may occur in the Premier League next season if his side achieves promotion in May. Currently third in the league standings and just one point behind Sheffield United, Leeds know that if they experience a swashbuckling run of form in their last eight fixtures, they could secure a top-two finish in the Championship.
Even if they miss out on this, the Whites will be confident of securing top-flight football via the play-offs, especially when you consider just how far ahead the top three sides in the league are compared to the rest of the teams.
If they are playing in the Premier League, Shackleton, as well as Clarke, Philipps and Peacock-Farrell, could lead their club into a new era which sees chairman Andrea Radrizzani focus on investing on the club’s youth system instead of falling into the trap of splashing out huge fees on imports from elsewhere.
This particular approach, if successful, would undoubtedly bring immense pride to Leeds’ supporters who would want nothing more than to see their own talents represent their club at the highest of levels.
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