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Leeds United: Bielsa must turn to Jamie Shackleton amid injury blow

Leeds United’s latest Premier League outing against Brentford was filled with positives and negatives, the positives being the return of Luke Ayling and Patrick Bamford, who scored their late equalising goal to rescue a 2-2 draw, after the duo had been out with injuries.

The negatives, however, were that Liam Cooper and Kalvin Phillips had to go off with injuries. With this in mind, this could be a perfect time for Marcelo Bielsa to put his faith in one of Leeds’ young talents.

Opportunity knocks

Even though 22-year-old Jamie Shackleton has made nine appearances in the Premier League this season, predominantly playing in the right-back position while Ayling was out injured, he has spent their previous two fixtures on the substitutes bench.

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Now that Phillips and Cooper have picked up these unfortunate blows against Brentford, this could pave the way for Shackleton to get back into the team either in a midfield or defensive capacity depending on how serious the injuries are, giving Bielsa the opportunity to tinker with his team again and give the youngster a chance to prove his worth and quality again.

As one of the Yorkshire club’s youth academy prodigies, during his time on the pitch for Leeds in the Premier League this season, Shackleton, who is currently earning a weekly wage of £17k-per-week according to Salary Sport, has shown his quality on the ball with an average passing accuracy percentage of 88% as well as proving his defensive capabilities by racking up an average of 2.4 tackles per game.

Labelled as a “superb” player by Darren Bent, Shackleton’s overall performances have earned the Englishman a season rating of 6.71/10, making him Leeds’ joint-fourth highest rated outfield player according to WhoScored.

Should Bielsa start playing Shackleton in midfield?

Yes

Yes

No

No

Should Phillips’ injury keep him out of the team for a significant period of time, Bielsa should definitely consider playing Shackleton in midfield and allow him to unleash his defensive qualities once again, especially since Leeds only have Mateusz Klich and Adam Forshaw to rely on as other options in central midfield.

With Leeds having games against Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool next up in the league, it seems as though Bielsa’s side could do with all the defensive reinforcements that they can muster with three of those teams scoring more than double the number of league goals Leeds have scored so far this term.

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Article title: Leeds United: Bielsa must turn to Jamie Shackleton amid injury blow

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