Leeds United continued their unbeaten run last night and moved to the top of the Championship table with a 2-2 draw against Swansea City.
After being lauded in the media for their expansive style of football implemented by Marcelo Bielsa, Leeds were forced to dig deep and demonstrate another aspect of their game by twice coming from behind to level the score at 2-2.
In truth, Leeds were a tad fortunate to come away with a point as Bersant Celina missed a glorious opportunity to snatch all three points for the Swans as the game ticked towards the 90 minute mark.
The heroics of Bailey Peacock-Farrell ensured that Leeds returned to Elland Road with a draw to show for their efforts against a side who will almost certainly be in the mix for a playoff place come the end of the season.
In the aftermath of proceedings, Bielsa admitted that Leeds did not defend particularly well, but that can largely be put down to the fact Liam Cooper was injured during the warm-up.
Due to a distinct lack of defensive options, Bielsa was forced to be pragmatic with his selection as he moved Luke Ayling into centre-back and brought in the inexperienced Jamie Shackleton at right-back, despite the fact he is conventionally a central midfield player by trade.
Shackleton earned plenty of plaudits for his performance at full-back with his willingness to drive forward with the ball and offer an outlet to his teammates.
The 18-year-old played an instrumental role in Leeds’ first equaliser by driving to the byline with purpose before providing Kemar Roofe with a tap-in inside the 6-yard box.
Defensively, Shackleton certainly has plenty of improving to do but that’s to be expected of a player whom has typically operated as a central midfield player throughout his development.
And the manner in which Shackleton reacted to being drafted in shortly before kick-off demonstrated a level of composure and versatility which almost certainly will have been noted by plenty of elite clubs in English football.
Obviously, it’s too early to label Shackleton as a star for the future based on one performance, but he has showcased a raw level of potential which suggests a future step up to the Premier League is certainly within his reach.
Now it’s down to Bielsa to help the exciting teenager realise the full extent of his potential throughout the 2018/19 campaign.
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