Jamie Shackleton can step up once again and take Adam Forshaw's place in Leeds United team
Leeds United’s hopes of promotion have been dealt a blow by the news that Adam Forshaw will not be returning to the team this season. The midfielder has had to have surgery on a hip injury and will now miss the remainder of the campaign.
Forshaw’s injury even saw Marcelo Bielsa quizzed by the press as to why an appropriate replacement was not brought in during the winter window. He told Leeds Live such a player would have been too expensive.
“If we bring someone else in, we have to find someone better and better means, in every sense, not just in skills, resources, but someone who can compete right now. We can bring one player like that paying a lot of money.”
Leeds now find themselves short in the centre of midfield, but there is one player they can turn to in their time of need.
Jamie Shackleton began to establish himself as a regular in the Leeds first-team toward the end of last season. His sensational performance against Derby County in the first-leg of the Championship play-offs suggested a future star was in the making.
At the time, Bielsa spoke highly of his young talent. As reported by Leeds Live, the Argentine spoke of how important Shackleton had become for the West Yorkshire side.
“When the players accept a new young player it means that they like to have this player on their side.
“When a young player finds his place in a top team in the natural competition you have for positions, the one who comes in to the team moves someone out of the team.
“That’s why from a team spirit the only way you accept the arrival of a young player is when you make the team better. And for me this happened very clearly with Jamie Shackleton.”
The players certainly took to Shackleton, with Cooper also telling Leeds Live of Shackleton’s ‘amazing’ disposition.
“He’s an amazing young man, down to earth, just wants to come in every day with a smile on his face and work hard.
“He deserves to be in the team, he deserves to play well because we see how hard he trains everyday. I thought he was a different class on Saturday. Hopefully, for him, he stays in the team, but if he doesn’t, he’ll still be the same boy.”
Unfortunately, that has not been the case this season. Shackleton suffered an injury just as he was playing himself into the starting XI again back in October. The youngster recovered, but picked up another injury immediately and has played just nine times in the Championship this season.
However, he has recently made his comeback and is slowly getting up to full fitness. It could very well be that Bielsa was willing to gamble on Shackleton filling any void left if Forshaw had to undergo this surgery.
Once again, the young academy product might be tasked with helping Leeds push for promotion. If he can perform like he did in the latter stages of last season, then Leeds fans might soon forget about Forshaw’s injury trouble.
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