Leeds United could not bounce back from their recent 4-2 loss to Arsenal at Molineux last night. Despite an end-to-end match that saw skipper Liam Cooper register four shots on target, the Whites couldn’t find a way back from Illan Meslier’s own goal in the second half.
An Adama Traore shot ricocheted off the woodwork before colliding with the Leeds goalkeeper and into his own net. But this wasn’t the only disappointing event of the night, several of Marcelo Bielsa’s men were lacklustre in their performances.
One man who wasn’t up to scratch was Jamie Shackleton, who is still battling for a regular spot in the starting lineup.
The 21-year-old has featured just 12 times from a possible 25 matches so far this season, with only four of those coming as starts, as per Transfermarkt.
He has been left out of the action on numerous occasions in favour of the likes of Mateusz Klich and Stuart Dallas in midfield.
Shackleton was handed a chance to prove himself as he was named amongst the lineup against Wolves.
However, he didn’t live up to expectations.
According to Sofascore, the midfielder took just 32 touches – ten fewer than Meslier – which is a very low amount for a creative playmaker. The centre of the pitch is the engine room of Bielsa’s system, so for Shackleton to have fewer touches than the goalkeeper proves he wasn’t part of many attacking attempts.
And ultimately, that was really poor to see.
The £2million-rated youngster should be on the ball, orchestrating play from midfield but instead, his stats show that he was rather absent in the middle of the park in what was a passenger-like display – it’s no wonder he was hooked after only 66 minutes of action.
Shackleton failed to register a single cross, long ball, shot or dribble in terms of attacking contribution, and he made zero clearances, blocks or interceptions.
The young midfielder was also hugely lightweight in his battles, winning just one of five duels (20%).
By comparison, both Klich (6.7) and Tyler Roberts (6.8) were graded better as per SofaScore ratings, both combining for five shots and one key chance created.
This performance isn’t exactly painting him in a good light for a player already slipping down the pecking order.
Although Bielsa is fond of him and recently lauded him as a “dynamic” player, Leeds can’t afford to field deadweight, and if Shackleton continues to slip off the radar in his performances, he will find himself demoted to the bench once more.
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