Whelan tips Leeds youngster to dazzle after crushing Ayling injury update
Noel Whelan has claimed Jamie Shackleton has all the attributes to shine for Leeds United in the absence of right-back Luke Ayling.
The former Whites striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, insisted he is “sure” Shackleton, 21, will take advantage of his opportunity.
Bielsa confirmed in yesterday’s pre-Watford press conference (September 30th) that Ayling requires surgery on a knee injury.
The Argentinian boss confirmed the right-back would be out for “some time” as the club’s seven-player injury list continues to wreak havoc on his plans.
Shackleton deputized for Ayling and impressed in last weekend’s Premier League loss against West Ham.
Whelan believes Leeds United are “lucky” to have options such as the youngster, and insisted Bielsa “trusts” his ability.
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“Shackleton put in another good performance at the weekend in Ayling’s absence,” he told Football Insider‘s Russell Edge.
“He gives you the same amount of energy, same tenacity – like Ayling, he won’t let you down.
“They’ve got options, whether you pull Dallas back from midfield into right-back – or stay with Shackleton and leave the energy in the middle with Dallas.
“We’re lucky that we have the choices with players that can adapt.
“This is why you have strength in depth in a squad. Shackleton has been with the first team for two or three years so he knows what’s required.
“He’s got the trust of the manager and you know that he will give 100%. I’m sure he will grasp this opportunity with both hands.”
The youngster has made six appearances for Leeds United in all competitions this season.
The England under-20 international has displayed his versatility by playing in midfield and defence this term.
Leeds take on Watford this weekend without key men Ayling and Patrick Bamford.
However, Diego Llorente and Raphinha have been passed fit.
The Whites are in search of their first league win after picking up three points from six league games.