Leeds United are back in action this weekend for their Premier League clash against Arsenal at Elland Road after their demoralising 7-0 defeat against Manchester City in midweek.
During the heavy defeat against Pep Guardiola’s side, Leeds midfielder Jamie Shackleton was forced off the pitch with a suspected injury in the 38th minute.
Speaking ahead of their match against Arsenal in his recent press conference, Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa shared some details on Shackleton’s issue which will not be what the fans want to hear.
Bielsa revealed that not only is Shackleton out for the Arsenal game but also that he “has a problem in his Achilles tendon,” but did not offer any sort of timescale on when the player would be fit again.
Given how Leeds already have the likes of Kalvin Phillips, Patrick Bamford, Rodrigo, Liam Cooper, Pascal Struijk and now Dan James out injured, Shackleton’s injury couldn’t have come at a worse time for the Yorkshire club and fans will be rightfully fuming.
So far this season, Shackleton has made 11 appearances for Leeds in the Premier League with most of them seeing him play in the right-back position, where he started the game against City but couldn’t make it to halftime.
In those appearances, the 22-year-old has managed to rack up an average of 2.3 tackles per game whilst winning 53% of the duels he’s been involved in, showing how much of a useful defensive option he’s been for Leeds so far this season.
Looking ahead to the Arsenal game, Shackleton will definitely be a big miss for Leeds as an extra body at the back given the absence of Cooper and Struijk through injury and Junior Firpo through suspension.
In terms of who Bielsa could now call upon to replace Shackleton in the team, he could either put Luke Ayling back in his usual right-back position or give Cody Drameh the chance to prove his worth.
However, with Drameh replacing Firpo in the second half against City and the fact that Firpo will not be available for the Arsenal clash, this could force Bielsa into having to play Drameh in the left-back position for this occasion, leaving even less depth to choose from to replace the injured Shackleton.
Either way, given the current situation at Leeds in terms of their personnel being somewhat depleted at the moment, everyone at the club will undoubtedly be hoping that Shackleton and the rest of the injured players at Elland Road will be able to make full recoveries sooner rather than later to help get Leeds’ season back on track.
In other news: Phil Hay has dropped a Leeds United transfer update…