The Yorkshire Evening Post’s Graham Smyth has dropped an update on Leeds United midfielder Jamie Shackleton’s future.
The 21-year-old made 13 appearances in the Premier League last season for Marcelo Bielsa’s side, but with reports linking the club to midfielders like Nahitan Nandez, Smyth has suggested that this is now an uncertain period of time for him.
He said: “Jamie Shackleton is almost exactly a year older than (Oliver) Casey and also penned a new deal at Elland Road last summer. The pathway to the first team was a lot clearer for Shackleton than the departed defender at that time, thanks to 22 Championship appearances in the title-winning season.
“As the Whites plot the capture of another central midfielder, with Stuart Dallas and Klich already ahead of Shackleton in that position and with Cody Drameh the obvious long-term successor to Luke Ayling at right-back, the paucity of the local lad’s match minutes in the second half of last season has left the pathway looking a little less clear.”
Having come through the Leeds academy, Shackleton is very much ‘one of their own’ at Elland Road, and so Smyth’s latest update may have fans worried.
With Casey already taking matters into his own hands and making the move to Blackpool, Shackleton may feel that he may need to do the same if he doesn’t get too much of a look-in in the first-team next season in the Premier League – the fact he played just one minute in the last 14 top-flight games to end the season certainly doesn’t bode well.
This is still a player who Bielsa rates highly however.
In fact, speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of the game against Southampton in the Premier League, Bielsa said: “I believe in Shackleton as an important alternative for Leeds United. He’s in a similar process to that of Pascal (Struijk).
“The only thing is that Pascal has a continuity that Shackleton hasn’t been able to have. I conisder him a player that I can trust and I’m satisfied with what he has brought to the team. Apart from that, he is a very serious player, very applied and very conscious of what is needed to play at this level.”
And, speaking after his cameo in the 5-0 win over West Brom earlier last season, the Leeds boss said of the 21-year-old: “Good organisation, energetic, he’s quick, he can surprise opponents, plays in a position which has many varieties as a box-to-box midfielder.”
The only way Bielsa can show Shackleton just how much he rates him, is through his actions, and giving him more first-team minutes next season.
If not, he could potentially follow the same path that Casey did and leave for pastures new and that will be a worry for Leeds fans, who’ll love to see one of their own wearing the famous white shirt.
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