Whilst Leeds are still one of the most famous clubs in England it’s been a long time since they were a top side. However, the Whites continue to produce generational talents through their academy and young Jamie Shackleton is the latest of those, the 19-year-old has the world at his feet and if he can play his cards right then he could go down as an Elland Road legend.
This time last year the young Leeds man that everyone was talking about was Ronaldo Vieira. The combative Englishman was used a lot throughout the 2017/18 season but since his departure to Sampdoria in the summer mentions of his name are a rarity. In his place, Marcelo Bielsa has promoted Shackleton through the academy and the versatile midfielder is showing exactly why his Argentine gaffer rates him so highly.
The midfielder’s meteoric rise this season has seen him make his debut for the senior-side and pen a new contract that has seen him join the senior squad, yet it seems his feet are firmly on the ground and his head is well screwed on. It came out just days after his 19th birthday that he was planning on taking his coaching badges this season to set him up for life after football, something that is unheard of with most 19-year-old footballers.
Seeing as Shackleton has one eye on the bigger picture he’ll know better than anyone that for him to truly make a name for himself in football he simply has to stay at Elland Road. Marcelo Bielsa has shown huge faith in him and he’s an integral part of the club’s Championship squad. The midfielder has it in him to become an England international and if he picks up a Championship winners medal this season it will only bolster his chances.
However, it is so important for the 19-year-old to avoid having his head turned. Whilst he’s thriving now, if he makes one wrong move he could throw everything away, like his predecessor, Ronaldo Vieira. Since Vieira was sold to Sampdoria he’s played just 26 minutes of senior football and that should serve as a winning to Shackleton that if he wants to succeed then Elland Road is the place to do it, and it looks like he’s already on the right path.