By Noel Whelan

6th Jul, 2021 | 9:54am

Whelan moots 'shock' starting role for Shackleton after Leeds pre-season reveal

Noel Whelan has mooted a “shock” starting role for Jamie Shackleton at Leeds United after an impressive start to pre-season.

The former Leeds striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, suggested the 21-year-old could force his way into the starting XI off the back of his performances in training.

Leeds revealed via Twitter (July 1st) Shackleton had come out on top in the notorious beep test on the first day of pre-season training.

The versatile midfielder was very much a squad player for Marcelo Bielsa during the 2020/21 campaign.

However, Whelan insisted Shackleton could be a surprise starter next term with some standout displays in pre-season.

Whelan told Football Insider’s Russell Edge: “I think the good thing is everyone’s taking up the challenge. Young players are taking up the challenge.

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“That’s what you’ve got to do. You’ve got to stand out straight away from the word go. I knew that when I was coming through the ranks. I was topping the bleep tests as well, I was winning the races.

“It shows that competitive nature and how badly and how hungry you are for it. That’s what managers want to see, that’s what coaches want to see that’s what everyone at the club wants to see.

“No one’s resting on their laurels, no one’s sitting there disappointed they didn’t get enough game time. They’re pushing each other all the way and that’s what pre-season’s for.

“Sometimes you can see some shock people starting the season just off the back of pre-season games and the way they trained. That could happen with Shackleton.”

Shackleton started three Premier League games last season.

He has a total of 63 appearances under his belt for Leeds.

In other news, Noel Whelan thrilled as Leeds United reportedly swoop for ‘the next big thing’.