Noel Whelan has called on Leeds United to start Jamie Shackleton in Wednesday’s play-off showdown against Derby County irrespective of Adam Forshaw’s availability.
Shackleton made a huge impact in Saturday’s 1-0 semi-final first leg win over Frank Lampard’s side after replacing the injured Forshaw 24 minutes into the game.
There is the possibility Tyler Roberts will be available to return after missing the last two matches with an ankle injury while fellow January 2018 signing Forshaw, 27, is struggling with a hamstring injury.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, Whelan insisted Marcelo Bielsa must persist with Shackleton, 19, after his strong performance at the weekend.
“The injury to Forshaw was a blessing in disguise,” Whelan exclusively told Football Insider. “Shackleton is forward thinking and more direct, and just as tenacious as Forshaw.
“He was excellent against Derby and is a brilliant talent. He turned the game when he came on and troubled Derby. He didn’t just stay in central midfield, he went out wide as well, and allow Pablo Hernandez to come inside.
“He has a great turn of pace, a fabulous engine, can manipulate the ball with his feet and run with it. He provided Leeds with another threat.
“I hope he plays on Wednesday alongside Mateusz Klich and just in front of Kalvin Phillips.”
Shackleton has mainly played in midfield for Leeds’ youth teams but Marcelo Bielsa has used him at both right-back and in central midfield for the senior side.
The Elland Road academy product has made 23 appearances for United this season and Saturday’s game was his first appearance for the side since March.