By Noel Whelan

10th Dec, 2021 | 7:00pm

Whelan: Leeds have got 'perfect' Phillips replacement - and he's set to start v Chelsea

Noel Whelan has tipped Jamie Shackleton to return to the Leeds United starting XI against Chelsea after Kalvin Phillips’ injury blow.

The former Leeds striker and club ambassador, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, suggested the 22-year-old could take Stuart Dallas’ place at right wing-back, with the Northern Irishman moving into a central role.

As confirmed on Thursday (9 December), Phillips suffered a hamstring injury against Brentford last weekend and is underway with his recovery process.

With the 26-year-old ruled out, Marcelo Bielsa has a void to fill in the centre of the pitch.

Whelan suggested Dallas should move into the midfield, with Shackleton coming off the bench to take his place at wing-back.

Whelan told Football Insider’s Russell Edge: “In my opinion, I think we need energy in midfield. I think Stuart Dallas would be the perfect player to go into that role in that central area.

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“I know that he enjoys it there and I think he will. He’s got that attacking presence, he can link up play with the front three as well. I think we need to go there with that attacking threat we know we can have on the day.

“There’s no point sitting there, looking for a draw. We need to go and try and hurt Chelsea as well. I think Stuart Dallas would add a lot of attacking presence in that area.

“Then you’ve got to look at Shackleton (to play at right wing-back). I really don’t think he did too much wrong when playing that role.

“He can play and adapt to different areas of the field, very much like Dallas. It depends on whether Bielsa really wants to start tinkering around with the defence.

“You don’t want to start moving too many chess pieces around.”

Shackleton has been an unused substitute for the Whites’ last two league games.

He has a total of nine Premier League appearances under his belt this term.

In other news, Football Insider’s injury expert has delivered the lowdown on Phillips’ “extensive muscle damage” at Leeds United.