Leeds reporter Joe Donnohue has said Jamie Shackleton was one of the “standout” players in pre-season and has been impressing those at the club recently.
Shackleton only turned 22 in early October but has already been in the first-team for four seasons and is now a regular part in Marcelo Bielsa’s team.
How has Shackleton performed this season?
Since breaking through, he’s generally been used as a bit-part player by the Argentine, with just 25 of his 72 appearances coming from the start.
But Shackleton has been used far more this campaign, starting four Premier League games in the absence of the injured Luke Ayling and is just 36 minutes short of matching the total that he played throughout the whole of last season.
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During the early weeks of the season, his only two outings came in the Carabao Cup, but Shackleton has been called upon in Ayling’s absence, starting the last four games in the league.
Shackleton hasn’t yet made the right-back spot his own, but Donnohue reckons that he’s reached the necessary level to be considered a top-flight regular.
What did Donnohue say?
He told GIVEMESPORT: “In pre-season he was probably one of the standouts and to begin this season there has been a lot of good noise around him to say that he’s performing at a level that is sufficient to be playing in the Premier League.”
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Has Shackleton put serious pressure on Ayling?
It’s too early to say that he’s now Bielsa’s first-choice right-back. After all, it’s only four games and Ayling has been the number one for the last five seasons.
But with Shackleton showing that he’s more than capable of performing well at Premier League level, Ayling will know that another dip in performance like he endured before his knee injury and Bielsa could turn to the youngster, who appears to be getting better with every passing week.
With that in mind, it’ll be interesting to see who Bielsa starts whenever Ayling is deemed fit enough to return to action.