'Fantastic' - Exclusive: Whelan urges Bielsa to hand Leeds 20-yr-old rare start v Forest
Noel Whelan has urged Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa to hand Jamie Shackleton a start in the club’s clash against Nottingham Forest.
The former Leeds striker and lifelong fan at Elland Road, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, says that the 20-year-old has the right sort of attributes to fill the void left by the suspended Kalvin Phillips.
Bielsa has had to make do without his midfield mainstay for the last two games due to his red card against QPR, with utility man Stuart Dallas taking his place in the centre of the pitch.
However, with Shackleton now back to fitness after his injury layoff, Whelan has urged Bielsa to put him in and move Dallas back to right-back after his dazzling performances in defence.
“Quite frankly, I’d have played him (Shackleton) in the Kalvin Phillips role, I think that suits him,” Whelan told Football Insider.
“You’re always going to make mistakes, whether that’s Kalvin Phillips or Shackleton or Stuart Dallas who plays in that role.
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“I think he gives you energy, he gives you tenacity, you can play Dallas in the right-back position which I think has been his best position at the minute, he’s been fantastic there this year. It’s a difficult choice for Marcelo Bielsa.
I’m sure he’s itching to get back out there and he fits that mould a little bit more than Stuart Dallas does.”
Shackleton has played just 10 times across all competitions this season for Leeds, with a total of two minutes under his belt since his last start in October.
He has been utilised as a midfielder and a right-back by Bielsa and has 34 senior games under his belt to date.
In other Leeds United news, Whelan has ripped into Victor Orta after an official statement at the club.