By Noel Whelan

2nd Nov, 2019 | 11:16am

'More than happy' - Whelan suggests Leeds 20-yr-old set to start v QPR after early team news

Noel Whelan has suggested that Leeds United midfielder Jamie Shackleton could start Saturday’s clash against Queens Park Rangers after Marcelo Bielsa confirmed he was sweating over his left-back options.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, the former Leeds striker and lifelong fan at Elland Road says that the 20-year-old looks set to battle with Spanish playmaker Pablo Hernandez for a place in Bielsa’s starting XI.

Shackleton has missed the last four Championship games through injury, having started four successive games prior to his layoff.

Having joined Liam Cooper in playing 45 minutes for the under-23s, Whelan suggests that the youngster may take his place back in the starting XI, especially with Ezgjan Alioski and Barry Douglas doubts for the game.

Whelan told Football Insider: “I think when you’re looking at Shackleton he’s the sort of player with that energy and tenacity in that midfield which makes me think maybe, just maybe, it’s going to be between Shackleton and Hernandez for that midfield spot. 

“I would go with Shackleton, I think he’s a bit more disciplined in that area, he gives you a lot more energy and aggressive nature seeing as Adam Forhaw is still out.

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“I think you could see Dallas going to left-back and Shackleton going into the midfield area which I’d be more than happy with, if anything it strengthens us.”

Shackleton has played a total of eight times for Leeds this season, with all but two of those outings coming among the starting XI.

Bielsa chose to start Kalvin Phillips and Mateusz Klich in the middle for the 0-0 draw against Sheffield Wednesday, opting to play a three-man defence with Dallas and Alioski as wing-backs.

In other Leeds United news, Darren Bent claims a senior player is in a “strange position” at Elland Road after an official update.