Leeds United are back in the Premier League after a 16-year absence and with the new season only two weeks away, things are looking pretty good.
Victor Orta has secured a new striker in Rodrigo from Valencia as well as a potential Ben White successor in Robin Koch but squad depth will be vital amongst the big dogs this campaign.
If reports are to be believed, then the Yorkshire giants are also closing in on the audacious signing of Udinese midfielder Rodrigo De Paul, and his addition would make the engine room one of the most competitive positions under Bielsa.
Pablo Hernandez, Mateusz Klich, Stuart Dallas, Kalvin Phillips and Adam Forshaw are all senior choices without the Uruguayan.
But the Leeds chief mustn’t forget about some of his younger, homegrown talents and in particular Jamie Shackleton, who we managed to catch a glimpse of at the back end of last season.
In reality, he’s no stranger to those at Elland Road as he’s only two appearances shy of the 50 mark for the club and perhaps unfairly, he’s about to slip down the pecking order once more.
However, Bielsa ought to give him a chance in the top-flight as he could be a valuable second fiddle to the 35-year-old veteran Hernandez. Tyler Roberts isn’t a number ten, so it’s time that experiment stops.
Shackleton only started five matches last term but in the final two games of the season, the 20-year-old delivered two goals and recorded fours shots, three tackles and one key pass, via WhoScored.
The young midfielder has even picked up plenty of praise throughout his short career to date, ranging from Bielsa dubbing him “influential” to former Kippax coach Nigel Birch highlighting him as “really brave”.
Leeds must have faith in Shackleton after tying him down to a four-year extension last month, so it’s time for the shackles to come off and for him to be let loose.
That’s not to say he should be starting, but at the very least he should be Hernandez’s #2 rather than putting a square peg in a round hole. That exposure would help his potential tenfold.
AND in other news, Leeds could land their next Rio Ferdinand with swoop for “big prospect”…