By Noel Whelan

19th Feb, 2021 | 5:30pm

Whelan: Shackleton is the perfect replacement for Phillips in Leeds XI tonight

Noel Whelan has touted Jamie Shackleton to fill in for the absent Kalvin Phillips when Leeds United visit Wolves tonight.

The former Leeds striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, insisted Marcelo Bielsa needs to get Pascal Struijk back to playing at centre-back, having filled in as a midfielder against Arsenal on Monday night.

With Luke Ayling moved to fill the void left in the heart of the defence, Shackleton, 21, played as a makeshift right-back in the 4-2 defeat in north London.

As confirmed by Marcelo Bielsa earlier this week, Leeds will once again be without midfield talisman Phillips for the visit to Molineux.

Leeds have lost four of their five league games without their homegrown hero in the starting XI this season, with four goals conceded against Leicester City, Crystal Palace and Arsenal.

Whelan admitted he did not want to see Struijk fill in as a midfielder for Phillips any more and suggested Shackleton, or Mateusz Klich, could take on the role instead.

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Whelan told Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge: “I do prefer Ayling back at right-back and then I would prefer to see Struijk playing centre-half, to be honest with you, and maybe a Shackleton back in there (the midfield). 

“I think Struijk and Cooper is a must today, I wouldn’t like to see Struijk playing Kalvin’s position anymore.

“I think he needs to keep up with that partnership that he was growing with Liam Cooper at the back and that’s where I see him playing his best football and his ability.

“I don’t like to see him playing the Kalvin role. I think we need more energy in there, I think we need somebody like a Shackleton who is tenacious as well, he can tackle, he can work along that backline and he’s got energy to burn.

“If not that, you can maybe drop a Klich in there, someone with a little bit more experience who can start play off and work ahead of that backline and leave Shackleton to use all that energy and youth going forward.”

In other news, Alex McLeish has raised fears after five youngsters named on Leeds United bench.