By Nick Ware

29th Sep, 2021 | 6:10pm

Beren Cross: Jamie Shackleton unlikely to leave Leeds United on loan in January

Leeds United are unlikely to let Jamie Shackleton leave on loan in January unless his situation dramatically changes, according to LeedsLive journalist Beren Cross.

Shackleton, 21, has made 68 appearances for Leeds since making his debut in August 2018, making over 20 appearances in both of his first two seasons as a professional.

However, he only played 15 times last season, and he started the 2021/22 campaign on the bench against Manchester United at Old Trafford.

He made his first Premier League start of the season in the 2-1 loss to West Ham on Saturday, deputising for Luke Ayling at right-back, leading to a question from a Leeds fan on the LeedsLive website about whether he needs to be loaned out in January to ensure he maintains regular football.

“He needs to nail down a position and nail down some regular minutes for the long-term sake of his career,” Cross said.

“Thankfully, he has been involved quite a lot at the start of this season. Shackleton has played the equivalent of four full matches in the eight Leeds games have had this term.

“If that ratio drops off a cliff between now and January they may review his situation, but, let’s be honest, they don’t really have the squad depth to deal with Shackleton going out too.”

Make or break

Shackleton has proven himself to be a dependable squad player under Marcelo Bielsa, but there may be a time where he looks for regular minutes in a regular position.

He has been used mainly as a utility player under El Loco, appearing in defence and midfield when injuries have struck to key members of the Whites side, and after finishing ninth in the Premier League last season, expectations have risen in West Yorkshire.

A regular run in central midfield looks difficult to come by – Kalvin Phillips is indispensable at the base while Stuart Dallas was one of the stars of the 2020/21 campaign. Mateusz Klich has also been a regular under Bielsa, while the Argentine still appears desperate to bring the best out of his big-money Spaniard, Rodrigo.

But do Shackleton’s chances get any easier at right-back? There’s only one space there, and that’s taken by Luke Ayling.

While he is on the wrong side of 30, the emergence of Cody Drameh in the Under-23s could see Shackleton usurped as Ayling’s deputy soon.

This all leaves the Leeds-born player with a dilemma – but one that is likely to be solved at the end of the season, rather than in January.

In other Leeds United news, this player will return to the starting line-up against Watford according to a BT Sport pundit.