Noel Whelan picked out Leeds United’s Jamie Shackleton for his performance during the 1-0 defeat on Friday night to Wolverhampton Wanderers.
The Whites suffered a narrow loss in the Premier League on their visit to Molineux.
Both teams had several strong goalscoring opportunities, including a stoppage time effort that Leeds substitute Helder Costa wasted.
But it was an unfortunate own goal from goalkeeper Illan Meslier in the second half that separated the teams, as an Adama Traore effort rocketed off the woodwork and deflected in off his back.
Leeds have now lost three of their last four league matches to slip down to 12th in the table, but it’s still been a strong return to the top flight.
Whelan singled out youngster Shackleton for his individual contribution against Wolves.
The versatile 21-year-old slotted into a midfield position, where he had to get through a lot of work and had the big boots of being the Kalvin Phillips stand-in.
“Shackleton, fantastic. Showed all that energy and commitment, desire and aggressive nature in that central midfield role,” Whelan told BBC West Yorkshire Sport.
“It’s the way he covers around, it’s the intelligence in his game as well. He’s very positive when he gets on the ball. He always opens up and is brave to make passes and make angles for other people. He gets forward as well at times. He’s got energy to burn. I thought he was everywhere in the first half.”
Aged 21, Shackleton has developed into an important first-team player at Elland Road this season and is someone that is perfect for Whites manager Marcelo Bielsa.
He’s already shown this campaign he can play numerous roles, impressing as both a full-back and central midfielder.
The diminutive 5ft 6in youngster looks more comfortable in the centre of the park with his aggressive tackling and high energy suiting his team.