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'We've got somebody better' - Whelan: Leeds teen 'ready-made' to replace star amid exit talks
Noel Whelan says that Leeds United youngster Jamie Shackleton is the perfect replacement for Adam Forshaw if he exits the club this summer.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Elland Road forward revealed he would not be too bothered if the 27-year-old left Elland Road due to Shackleton’s performances during the 2018/19 campaign.
Whelan admitted that he would not be too worried if the former Middlesbrough man were to leave this summer, insisting that the emergence of 19-year-old Shackleton as a genuine first-team contender means that Marcelo Bielsa has a ready-made replacement for the 27-year-old.
“If you are letting him go, you’ve got to have somebody in place to come and take over that role,” Whelan told Football Insider in an exclusive interview.
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“Personally I’d like to retain everyone we had last season pretty much. We need to let a couple go but saying that if there’s someone that we feel we have better there, like Shackleton – I think he was a better player last season than Forshaw – we have a ready-made player there who can do Forshaw’s job.
“He would have been my first choice to come on if anybody was injured in that central area of midfield because we saw what an influence he had. He caused more problems in that area than Forshaw did. I would be not too bothered if Forshaw did leave because I think we’ve got somebody there that can do a better job.”
Forshaw has featured 44 times for Leeds since his move from Middlesbrough back in the January transfer window of 2018, 32 of those appearances coming in the last 12 months.
Shackleton meanwhile played 24 times across all competitions in his breakthrough season, Bielsa using the 19-year-old as right back cover for Luke Ayling as well as a midfielder.