Kippax youngster Jamie Shackleton admitted it was “special” to start his first league game at Elland Road when he came into the Leeds United team for their 2-1 victory over QPR last Saturday.
The 19-year-old United academy product had made three previous starts in the senior side, in the Carabao Cup against Bolton Wanderers and Preston and away in the Sky Bet Championship at Swansea.
He also has six substitute appearances to his name as head coach Marcelo Bielsa has identified him as one of the best young players at the club. But last Saturday’s game was his first time in the starting line-up at home in the league and he enjoyed it, turning in a man of the match display at right-back – not his preferred position.
He said: “We’ve been unfortunate with injuries this year and it’s important that I’m ready to step in and play when needed.
“It’s quite special to play in front of a full house at Elland Road.
“Marcelo Bielsa just said for me to express myself, relax and just enjoy it really. “
Shackleton was pleased to play his part in an important win for Leeds, which took the team five points clear of third place, even if he admitted it had not been the team’s best performance.
He said: “I think it helped us going into half-time at one-all after we’d been behind. That gave us a real boost.
“It was tough in the end and we had to dig in, but I thought we did that well. This is the type of game that sometimes you’ve got to win dirty.”
“I was quite far away so I couldn’t see if should have been a penalty (for the winning goal). But a penalty is not something we’ve seen very often. We’ll definitely take it.”
The victory made it four wins on the spin for Leeds.
“I thought it was very important we bounced back after the international break and four wins on the trot is the perfect way to do it,” added Shackleton.
“It’s a good time to do it, too, coming into Christmas and we’ll look to continue that now. It’s all about keeping this run going and the longer it goes on at this time of year with games coming thick and fast, the better.”