Leeds: 78-game ace now tipped for first start at Elland Road tonight

Leeds manager Jesse Marsch in the Premier League against Manchester City

Jamie Shackleton is likely to replace Luke Ayling at right-back and make his first start under Jesse Marsch when Leeds host Chelsea tonight, according to the Mirror journalist David Anderson.

Ayling was sent off against Arsenal on Sunday and is serving the first of a three-game suspension, which could hand a rare chance to Shackleton.

What’s the latest news involving Shackleton?

After a promising start to the campaign for the youngster in which he regularly played at right-back when Ayling was out injured, it’s been a forgetful few months for Shackleton.

Not only has he featured just twice in the Premier League in 2022, but he hasn’t started a top-flight fixture since December.

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Shackleton has still regularly been on the bench, although Jesse Marsch has opted to play either Ayling or Stuart Dallas at right-back.

But with Ayling unavailable and Dallas recovering from a broken leg sustained in the recent defeat to Manchester City, the American manager has limited options at right-back.

Therefore, Anderson expects Shackleton, who’s played there more than 30 times in his career, to get the nod.

What did Anderson say about Shackleton?

He told GIVEMESPORT: “You want the likes of Raphinha, Dan James and Rodrigo high up the pitch because there is that issue, where are the goals coming from?

“So, he will want those players higher up and just have to do his best to play Shackleton at right-back. He has played there before, he was Ayling’s understudy when Bielsa was using Dallas in midfield or left-back, so it’ll most likely be him.”

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Should Shackleton start?

Given that Marsch is already without his best two right-back options, the American really does have little other choice by this point.

There have been suggestions that he could change the formation and play an attacking player in a wing-back role, although that might unsettle the side even further, especially in a game of such importance, while it could also have a negative impact on their forward play.

Shackleton hasn’t played much of late and could therefore be slightly rusty, but he’s still played almost 18 times this season, taking his total for the club to 78.

Therefore, handing the 22-year-old a rare start should happen, especially considering he might be required to play there in the crucial upcoming games against Brighton and Brentford, which are both extremely important in Leeds’ battle against the drop.

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