By Kealan Hughes

9th Jan, 2021 | 3:32pm

MOT view: Worse than Shackleton - Move for Championship duo could be costly for Leeds

Leeds United have been linked with a move for Derby pair Louie Sibley and Jason Knight, but the club should turn their attention elsewhere.

The two midfielders have been a firm part of Wayne Rooney’s plans at Pride Park, particularly Knight who has started 21 league games this term.

Both are aged 19 and have been bright sparks in an underwhelming season, but they have a long way to go if they are to be Premier League ready.

Or, rather, Marcelo Bielsa ready.

One comparison that could be made is how the duo fair compared to Jamie Shackleton.

The academy product has now spent more than two years under Bielsa’s tutelage, learning what the Argentine expects, and more importantly what he does not want.

The result has seen Shackleton play his part in promotion and in Leeds’ success this term.

A tendency to stick with certain favourites means the 21-year-old has found starts difficult to come by, but the same is likely of Sibley and Knight if they were to join.

An advantage Shackleton holds over them is his ability to play at both centre-midfield and right-back – a key role in Bielsa’s side.

Most of Shackleton’s appearances have come from the bench, yet he has managed 4.4 interceptions per game and 90% pass accuracy (WyScout).

He is always ready to call upon, and the fact he barely gives away the ball means he is perfect for Bielsa’s possession system.

By contrast, Sibley has managed just 71% pass accuracy per WhoScored, and though Knight has 82%, it is worth considering that he is playing at a level below.

If they were to sign they would be long-term projects, and since Leeds’ ambition keeps climbing, the club may be better suited to attracting bigger-name players.

Additions like Rodrigo and Raphinha have undoubtedly taken the Whites to the next level, so additions in their vein is the direction recruitment should focus on.

Furthermore, signing either of the Derby pair could disillusion Shackleton and others like him.

As a young player who has waited on the fringes, the midfielder may look elsewhere for game time, and that may encourage other Leeds youngsters to do the same.

That is a big risk, as the last thing the club needs is for talented players to prove themselves elsewhere.

Just imagine if Kalvin Phillips had jumped ship when he was first breaking through.

In other Leeds United news, Patrick Bamford has named the player he’d love Leeds to sign.