'Better than Clarke' - Whelan 'blown away' by teen who's emerged from Leeds ranks
Jamie Shackleton is going to be a major play for Leeds United and he is already “better than Jack Clarke”.
That is the verdict of ex-United striker and lifelong fan Noel Whelan, who has told Football Insider editor Wayne Veysey in an exclusive interview why the 19-year-old has to him reaching for the superlatives.
Shackleton made his first league start of the season for Leeds in last Sunday’s 2-0 win at Barnsley and impressed Whelan with a sparkling midfield display.
This comes after he featured for England Under-20s at the Toulon Tournament in France over the summer on the back of breaking into the Leeds side.
“For me, Shackleton is better than Clarke,” Whelan told Football Insider. “I know Jack has joined Tottenham and good luck to him, but Shackleton has more to offer.
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“He can play in more positions – central midfield, the number 10 role, winger, even at full-back, he can play all these positions – while Jack Clarke is an out-and-out winger.
“Shackleton is an all-round player who has a bit of everything. I thought he was excellent against Barnsley last Sunday – busy, tenacious, great turn of pace.
“Given it was his first league start of the season, it was hugely impressive. I was really pleased with his performance and, not for the first time, he’s blown me away.”
Shackleton, who turns 20 next month, broke into the United team last season and made major strides under Marcelo Bielsa, mainly at right-back and in central midfield.
He has made five appearances this season, three of which have come in the Championship, while Clarke’s only game time has come in the League Cup after being frozen out of the league matchday 18.