Leeds United fans may be yet to see Cody Drameh make his first-team debut for the Whites, but there appears to be a real sense that the club produced a masterstroke signing the youngster last summer.
According to the Daily Mail, Leeds could end up paying almost £1 million for the right-back. But the early signs suggest that he will be well worth the money in years to come.
Drameh has played a key role for Mark Jackson’s under-23 side this season. And along with the likes of Joe Gelhardt and Sam Greenwood, he has arguably been one of the best performers in a team that is sprinting towards the title.
He is unlucky that Leeds’ first-team have so much depth at right-back. Luke Ayling has started every Premier League game this season. Meanwhile, Stuart Dallas and Jamie Shackleton are also options Marcelo Bielsa has used.
But Drameh is definitely threatening to knock on the door and add himself to the list of names. And it is perhaps Shackleton who may be taking the greatest interest in his development.
Shackleton’s ability to play at right-back, as well as in his more familiar midfield role, appears to have been integral in establishing him as a regular fixture in Bielsa’s squads.
That versatility boosts Shackleton’s hopes of featuring for the first-team. But perhaps Drameh’s development should now convince Bielsa into a decision on Shackleton’s future.
Perhaps now is the time for Shackleton to focus solely on developing as a midfielder.
Drameh may well be catching up with him in the right-back pecking order. And he will surely set his sights on overtaking him in the coming months.
So continuing to consider Shackleton as a right-back option may do the academy graduate few favours in the long run.
He is at a crucial stage of his career. He is potentially reaching a point where his versatility may start to hurt him as he looks to become a first-team regular.
His performances this season have hinted that his future predominantly lies in the middle of the park.
With Drameh developing at a frightening rate, now may be the perfect time for Shackleton to be given the green light to concentrate much more on becoming the midfielder he is threatening to be.