With Conor Shaughnessy leaving Leeds United on loan for a second time under Marcelo Bielsa this summer, it appears fair to suggest that his chances of turning his career around at Elland Road look bleak.
None of the players who were loaned out last season have played for the club this term. The majority have moved on again – Shaughnessy included.
The 23-year-old has joined Mansfield Town for the season after spending the second-half of last year on loan at Hearts in the Scottish Premiership.
Shaughnessy struggled at Tynecastle. And there is surely no doubt that a loan spell in League Two does not provide the easiest platform for a player to prove a point to a head coach with his sights set on the Premier League.
But the former Reading man has made a fantastic start to life with the Stags. He won man of the match on his debut at the weekend and was lauded by boss John Dempster (via Mansfield and Ashfield Chad).
And perhaps that performance could provide the smallest hint that there may still be a very slim chance for Shaughnessy at Leeds.
The Irishman has spent his time with United as a defender. He showed promise in the role, with Thomas Christiansen giving him plenty of chances during his tenure. However, he arrived having been a midfielder with the Royals.
Conor’s change of plan
And it was in the middle of the park where Shaughnessy played for Mansfield Town on his debut. One impressive performance may not catch Bielsa’s eye, but it is something to definitely build upon.
Admittedly, if any coach is going to see Shaughnessy’s potential in another position, it is surely Bielsa. He has already stunned the Leeds fans on numerous occasions with the transformations that he has overseen with certain players.
So if Bielsa is happy to loan Shaughnessy out again, it does hint that he has doubts about his potential in defence and midfield.
But if Shaughnessy can continue to impress in the middle, he can perhaps set his sights on a place in the pecking order upon his return to Elland Road. From there, perhaps a chance could come his way at some stage.
There appears to be a long way for Shaughnessy to go before the fans are asking for the youngster to get another chance at Leeds. But he has made a very good start – and can potentially target earning one final opportunity to prove himself with the Whites.