By Noel Whelan

20th Jan, 2020 | 2:52pm

Exclusive: Whelan raves over Leeds fringe player who may be answer to 'Million-dollar question'

Noel Whelan heaped praise on Leeds United midfielder Jamie Shackleton and suggested he could step in for Kalvin Phillips following his suspension.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Laura O’Leary, the ex-Leeds striker believes the ‘million-dollar question’ that needs answering by Marcelo Bielsa is who will replace Phillips in the team.

Phillips was sent off during the 1-0 loss to QPR on Saturday for a badly-timed tackle on Geoff Cameron, and he now faces a three-match suspension.

Whelan tipped Shackleton to be capable of taking Phillips’ spot in the team due to him having the energy and tenacity to play as a holding midfielder.

When asked who could replace Phillips in the team following him getting suspended, Whelan told Football Insider: “Shackleton probably could.

“I think Jamie Shackleton has that kind of energy, that tenacity which is needed, but it’s a big role to play.

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“It’s big big big boots to fill when it comes to covering Kalvin Phillips, so that is the million-dollar question.

“So what is Bielsa thinking? What direction is he going to go?”

Shackleton has been on the fringes of Leeds’ squad this season as the 20-year-old has only managed to make nine appearances across all competitions.

The Whites midfielder last tasted Championship action in November when he made a cameo appearance in the 1-0 win over Reading.

Bielsa’s side are next in action on a Tuesday as they host seventh-placed Millwall at Elland Road.

In other Leeds United news, Darren Bent advised highly sought-after attacker to reject the chance to join the Whites.