Speaking on the latest edition of The Square Ball podcast (May 28, 39:00), Phil Hay was full of praise for Jamie Shackleton, stating that he is a better player than Jack Clarke.
This comes just a week after the teenager was rumoured to be off to Tottenham Hotspur.
The Yorkshire Evening Post journalist was in awe of the 19-year-old after his mature performances in the playoffs against Derby County.
“I watch him [Clarke] and I watch Jamie Shackleton, and I think that Shackleton looks incredibly more rounded than Clarke,” Hay said.
“He looks almost 10 years older than Clarke in the way that he plays, with his strength and his suitability for the level of football that he’s never played at before he just adapts to it naturally.
“It’s a shame he didn’t play more this season. I look at him and I think he could play 46 games and I think he will be more involved next season.”
Hay may well be right about the two Leeds United youngsters. Shackleton often looks a lot more assured than Clarke on the pitch, but it would be a tough sell to say that he is the better player.
The 19-year-old is a central midfielder whereas the man he is being compared to is a winger. Clarke possesses a lot more natural ability, and he may have a tendency to make immature decisions, but you have to excuse that because of his age.
The central-midfielder does look more of a finished product than the wide player, but once the youngster gains more experience, he will more than likely become the better footballer.
The 18-year-old has been linked to Tottenham for a reason, and his potential is there for everybody to see. To say that Shackleton “looks almost 10 years older” is all well and good right now, but once Clarke develops into a more mature player he will overtake his teammate.