By Callum O'Connell

15th Sep, 2023 | 8:40am

Gary Rowett shares 'brilliant' verdict on Cresswell and Shackleton ahead of Leeds United clash

Millwall boss Gary Rowett has called Leeds United pair Charlie Cresswell and Jamie Shackleton “brilliant” as they prepare for a return to The Den after spending last season on loan there.

He gave his verdict on both players’ personalities, referring to Cresswell as “a little bit more vocal” than his teammates, and Shackleton as “really likeable”, as he assured both are “really good kids”.

Rowett claimed there is a lot of respect between the players and the club after their performances last season, and stated that both would be welcome back at Millwall “any time”.

Speaking to Southwark News on 15 September, Rowett discussed his former loanees, stating: “[They were] brilliant lads. Different types of lads. Shacks was a little bit quieter, went about his work, but a really likeable lad and likeable player. Whenever he was called upon you could trust him.

“Sometimes his versatility probably worked against him a little bit. A change of formation for us last year worked against him. But he’s a really, really good player and he’s showing that now at Leeds.

“And Cressy’s the same. A little bit more vocal, a little bit livelier on the training ground but no less a likeable character. Both did really, really well.

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“Both brilliant people, they fitted into the group great, really humble, threw themselves into what we’re about here as a team and both would be welcome back here any time – apart from Sunday.

“They’re very popular lads. They’ll be working hard to make sure that Leeds get a result and we’ll do likewise. There’s a lot of respect there and I think they’re really good kids.”

Hopefully a happy return for the pair

Both Cresswell and Shackleton impressed during their loan spell as they gained valuable first-team experience in the Championship, which has allowed them to slot seamlessly into Daniel Farke’s lineup at Elland Road. The year spent away from the club will surely be looked upon fondly by all parties.

Cresswell in particular shone, earning him an England Under 21 international call-up which saw him play a key role in the European Championship-winning side, before earning a new contract at Leeds and now playing an important part in the defence.

Rowett’s comments on Shackleton’s versatility are particularly interesting. This part of his game has paid off once more again this season, as he slotted in at left-back in the clash against Sheffield Wednesday and could do again against Millwall.

It is understandable that not having a solid and stable role in the team can be difficult for further development as he continues to adapt to different demands in different positions, but it will also provide him with more opportunities to get regular football at Elland Road.

In other Leeds United news, the club are “praying” as a journalist shares whether a free agent will be signed.