Noel Whelan has been blown away by the impact made this season by Leeds United teenager Jamie Shackleton.
The 19-year-old homegrown star has made 22 appearances for the senior side since being fast-tracked by manager Marcelo Bielsa.
He has been deployed either at right-back or in the central midfield role where he was used as he worked his way through the club’s academy ranks.
Speaking to Football Insider, former Leeds striker Whelan explained why he is such a big admirer of the youngster, even though he has made just three league starts to date for the club.
“Shackleton to me, I think he’s fantastic,” Whelan said. “When he’s come on he really has made a difference and that’s what you want from a player, a young player – enthusiasm, quality and when you come on, make a difference and he’s certainly done that.
“I love him, I think he’s brilliant. There’s a bit of tenacity about him as well. The thing is these days it’s great to be a wing-back because you’re defending, you’re creating and you get a chance to score a goal as well, or an assist. You’re pretty much doing everything you want.
“Beforehand you’d get the ball, give it to a midfield player and stop at the halfway line, these days you’re involved in absolutely everything that’s going on. He’s got loads of energy, he loves getting forward, he loves tackling.
“He’s perfect for that role but it’s always good to have players who can adapt and utilise in different areas of the field. It means you don’t need to change too much, you can make a substitute which means putting someone down to right back and popping someone in the midfield. You need those sort of changes where you can adapt.
“He’s brilliant, I love him, he’s definitely gone from strength to strength. I love the way he comes on, drives at players, enthusiastic, bit of pace about him as well. You know it (wing back) is going to be a demanding position, box to box, but he loves it.”
Shackleton is likely to be on the substitute’s bench once again for Leeds tomorrow (Saturday) as they prepare to host Sheffield Wednesday at Elland Road.
Bielsa’s side are second in the Championship, one point ahead of Sheffield United, with five matches of the campaign remaining.
In other Leeds United transfer news, Noel Whelan has slaughtered SEVEN of the club’s senior players as “not talented enough” and who must be “got off the payroll”.