Leeds United midfielder Jamie Shackleton has admitted playing as a box-to-box midfielder is his preferred role at Elland Road, whilst highlighting current incumbent in that role Mateusz Klich as an inspiration.
The 20-year-old has played a lot of his football at Leeds as a right-back under Marcelo Bielsa. However, speaking to the Yorkshire Evening Post this week he made it clear centrally is where he sees himself playing long-term.
Klich, it seems, is a player he can model himself on.
“My favourite position to play is like number eight in midfield so box to box…
“I speak to Mateusz quite a lot. There’s a lot to be learned off him, the way he moves on the ball, I think that’s one of his best assets, how he creates space when there isn’t space to come in to there to get on the ball.
“He manages to create it and I think that’s one of his best skills.”
The talented England youth international looked set for a breakthrough season at Leeds this season. He ended last term in fine form and many would have hoped to see plenty of Shackleton at Elland Road in 2019-20.
Unfortunately, injuries have interrupted his progress this season and he has largely been used as a substitute, often in the final stages of a game.
However, Bielsa is known to remain a huge fan of Shackleton. In 2018, after a particularly impressive display against Bolton, Bielsa told the press that Shackleton already looked like a ‘veteran’ despite his tender age.
Many fans have compared him in playing style to former Leeds hero James Milner and in the long run he could become a dominant member of Leeds’ midfield. For now, he must continue to watch and learn from Klich and co, taking his chances when they come.