Former Leeds United striker and now BBC pundit, Noel Whelan, has long been banging the drum for young Academy graduate Jamie Shackleton, and with the highly rated 19-year-old talent making his first Championship start of the season last weekend as we took a late 2-0 victory over Barnsley, Whelan has again been praising the lad up.
With Jack Clarke struggling for game time, the former striker decided to compare the importance of the two, when it came to manager Marcelo Bielsa’s options in the side, and he felt that versatile youngster Shackleton simply offered far more on the pitch.
Speaking to Football Insider in his now regular semi-column, Whelan explained.
“For me, Shackleton is better than Clarke. I know Jack has joined Tottenham and good luck to him, but Shackleton has more to offer. He can play in more positions – central midfield, the number 10 role, winger, even at full-back, he can play all these positions – while Jack Clarke is an out-and-out winger. Shackleton is an all-round player who has a bit of everything. I thought he was excellent against Barnsley last Sunday – busy, tenacious, great turn of pace. Given it was his first league start of the season, it was hugely impressive. I was really pleased with his performance and, not for the first time, he’s blown me away.”
Shackleton has made five appearances so far during the 2019/20 campaign, but prior to Barnsley, his only starts had come in our EFL Cup matches, but he again took his recent opportunity with both hands to impress plenty in the fanbase.
I’m not sure it’s fair to compare both, as even given Shackleton’s versatility, they are completely different players, but Whelan is quite right to point out the soon to be 20-year-old continues to impress when chances come his way.