Leeds fans were dealt the bitter blow this week that right-back Luke Ayling will miss a couple of months due to a MCL injury.
The Whites have already lost left-back Barry Douglas for a period this season, and will be devastated at this latest set back. The club do not have the greatest squad size, and therefore may find themselves stretched over the coming months.
However, they do certainly have a lot of young talent in their ranks, who will be champing at the bit to impress manager Marcelo Bielsa. One of those men is 19-year-old Jamie Shackleton.
The academy product is adept at playing in the midfield or as a wing-back, and has seen some time in both positions for The Peacocks. He has made four appearances for Leeds in the Championship so far this season, being used in what may be seen as lesser games for the club. Nonetheless, he has impressed whenever he has been called upon.
It is his ability to play as a wing-back which may force Bielsa to tweak his formation to three at the back. The Argentinian has deployed this shape so far this season, and it looks to be the best way to accommodate Shackleton. The 19-year-old suits the manager’s pressing, high energy style, and would be very well suited to filling in at right wing-back for the foreseeable future.
The Arsenal youth player, Ayling, had made a great start to this season, playing in 14 of Leeds 15 Championship games. While it will be a huge loss to the club, they are in a good place in second place in the league, and should feel confident that Shackleton can deputise.
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