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Jamie Shackleton illuminates major mistake from Marcelo Bielsa

Jamie Shackleton has largely been overshadowed by Jack Clarke this season but has he been unfairly omitted from the starting XI by Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa?

On the chalkboard

Shackleton, a central midfielder by trade, stepped into the starting XI at late notice against Swansea City during the early stages of the season.

But despite his incredible lack of experience and the fact he was playing out of position at right-back, he excelled in the role and provided an assist for Kemar Roofe following a marauding run forward.

That performance alerted supporters to the extent of his talent and he has performed with immense composure and confidence every time he has been called upon thereafter.

The problem is that, despite regular calls for him to start from the Leeds supporters, his appearances have been limited to cameos from the substitutes bench.

An injury to Adam Forshaw against Derby County, though, saw him enter the fray in the 23rd minute, and he provided another strong reminder of his abilities with an excellent performance in central midfield.

The 19-year-old was not heavily involved but he managed to play one key pass and crunch into two tackles during his time on the pitch, while his pass accuracy was superior to that of Pablo Hernandez, per Whoscored.

One of Bielsa’s biggest blunders

Amidst the hype surrounding his performance there was a rueful undertone. This was Leeds’ biggest game of the season so far and yet Shackleton handled the occasion with the maturity of a seasoned pro, so why on earth has he not been selected on a more regular basis this season?

The Whites are not blessed with strength in depth and there have been a multitude of occasions when Bielsa could have turned to the teenager for a fresh dynamic and some much needed exuberance.

That the 19-year-old stepped up to the big occasion was as frustrating as it was encouraging, and Bielsa may be pondering over his selection policy throughout the season so far in light of his performance.

The Argentine hasn’t got a lot wrong this season but everything about Shackleton’s form up to and including yesterday’s showing hint that the revered manager missed a trick during the push for automatic promotion.

Plenty of Leeds fans are well within their rights to say I told you so.

Article title: Jamie Shackleton illuminates major mistake from Marcelo Bielsa

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