This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Ahead of Leeds’ trip to Stoke a few weeks ago, Marcelo Bielsa revealed that there were once again some injury doubts for the Whites.
Barry Douglas ended up missing the trip whilst Stuart Dallas and Liam Cooper were also doubts before kick-off.
As it happened, Dallas was fit enough to play and even scored but the initial plan was for someone like Jamie Shackleton to come in and play at right-back.
Like in his pre-match press conference ahead of the game with Brentford, the 19-year-old was being tipped to play but failed to make the starting XI.
Bielsa has now hinted at him starting at full back twice and if it does come into fruition on a regular basis, it could prove extremely useful.
It will be interesting to see where Shackleton’s long-term position lies having featured in midfield and at right back for the Whites last term.
A central midfielder by trade, he featured 19 times in the Championship throughout 2018/19, playing 24 times in all competitions.
According to Transfermarkt, he played 11 times in midfield as well as on 11 occasions in defence.
Considering the injury for Luke Ayling, there could well be an opening in that role at the moment and if that part of the pitch becomes more permanent for the 19-year-old, it can prove fruitful for two other rising talents.
Mateusz Bogusz and Alfie McCalmont are the two players in question. They’re both midfielders and if Shackleton is shifted to the right side of defence, they can be pushed further forward in the midfield pecking order.
Bogusz is yet to really get a chance this term, being restricted to watching on from the substitutes bench and then playing against Stoke in the League Cup.
McCalmont has appeared this season, achieving his first-team debut against Salford a few weeks ago and also playing in the next round.
In 26 minutes on the field versus Salford, he made one tackle, interception and clearance as well as completing 95% of his passes, according to Wyscout. He even created a goal-scoring opportunity.
The promise for the pair of them is clearly there but when players like Tyler Roberts return opportunities could be limited.
Moving Shackleton’s position on a permanent basis, therefore, might allow them to gain more chances in midfield.