MOT View: 19y/o midfielder turned attacker next to make step up from Under-23s
Leeds fans will be looking forward to seeing more of Jamie Shackleton next season after the 19-year-old enjoyed a breakthrough season in the first-team.
But he’s not the only Under-23s player who’s likely to get more game time next season.
Jordan Stevens is a player who’s largely flown under the radar since he signed from Forest Green in January 2018 but we think Bielsa will be looking to feature him more next season.
Stevens, also 19, caught Bielsa’s eye last season, with the manager saying, “He has all the necessary skills to play on the side in attack. He has good quality and speed too.”
He got a chance in the first-team last season, a 14-minute cameo in the 2-1 defeat against Stoke, but he also made the bench a further six times, including in the FA Cup defeat against QPR.
Leeds are on the lookout for attackers with pace this summer and Bielsa will know that Stevens is waiting in the wings.
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He’s great with his feet, has an 80% pass accuracy [wyscout.com] and isn’t afraid to drive at opponents.
This was all new to him last season, though, after he learned his trade as a defensive midfielder. That makes what he achieved even more impressive.
Stevens should get a chance in pre-season training and games, and we think he’s got what it takes to move up into the sort of role Shackleton was afforded last season.
Meanwhile, Shackleton should make the step up to first-team regular if he can push on in pre-season, proving that in Carlos Corberan’s Under-23s, there’s a rich pool of talent waiting to make its move.