By Pranav Shahaney

13th Oct, 2021 | 2:10pm

Jamie Shackleton set to get more game time in Luke Ayling's absence

Leeds United are likely to play Jamie Shackleton at right-back in the coming weeks, according to The Athletic journalist Phil Hay.

Luke Ayling is still recovering from knee surgery and the 22-year-old is expected to deputise for him in the coming weeks.

Hay believes that these games could be crucial for the youngster to win over Marcelo Bielsa and stake his claim for first-team football.

He wrote, “With first-choice right-back Luke Ayling recovering from knee surgery, the next few weeks might be an opportunity for Shackleton to force his foot in the door, even if Bielsa has said himself that he is often minded to stick with his most proven options.

“Ayling has been a mainstay under him for three years and an important figure in the dressing room too.

“But where Shackleton is concerned, he looks ready for a concerted chance to realise the potential so many academy coaches spoke about when he was coming through the younger age groups at Leeds.”

Time to shine

Injuries are never good but one’s loss is the other person’s gain and this is Shackleton’s opportunity to prove why he was rated highly by the coaches at the academy.

Leeds and Bielsa had the option to let him leave for Bournemouth on loan this summer, but opted against it.

That is now proving to be a wise decision as he’s cemented his spot as the side’s second-choice right-back.

Displacing Ayling is going to be a tough ask, but performances like the one he put in against Watford cannot hurt his chances in any way.

Hay, in his piece quoted above, made a terrific case for Shackleton to get more playing time.

He wrote: “His touch is sound, he can pick a pass, he has excellent stamina and the creases in his game would no doubt be ironed out by an extended run of starts.”

Bielsa would be loving the kind of improvement shown by the 22-year-old recently and it’s now time to take his game to that next level.

In other Leeds United news, Bielsa will be livid as Leeds star in line to miss Southampton clash on Saturday