Was Christiansen's plan to play Leeds youngster Conor Shaughnessy in midfield all along?

Thomas Christiansen, Manager of Leeds United during the Sky Bet Championship match between Bristol City and Leeds United at Ashton Gate on October 21, 2017 in Bristol, England.

The Leeds United youngster got a run-out in his natural position this weekend.

Islam Slimani of Leicester City and Conor Shaughnessy of Leeds United in action during the Carabao Cup Fourth Round match between Leicester City and Leeds United at The King Power Stadium...

When Leeds United manager Thomas Christiansen gave Conor Shaughnessy some unexpected chances in the heart of his defence during pre-season, the youngster seized them with both hands, earning first-team recognition and a new contract in the process.

But in recent months he has slipped down the pecking order at Elland Road, rarely getting a look-in despite some poor performances from his fellow Leeds defenders.

Leeds manager Thomas Christiansen looks on during the Sky Bet Championship match between Cardiff City and Leeds United at Cardiff City Stadium on September 26, 2017 in Cardiff, Wales.

On Saturday, Shaughnessy was back on the field, coming on for Leeds just before the hour-mark against Barnsley, and the 21-year-old did not disappoint.

In fact, it could be argued that this was Christiansen's plan for Shaughnessy all along, seeming him as a long-term option in the centre of the park and a back-up defender at best.

That is not to say the Leeds youngster has not impressed at centre-back, only that in time he is expected to do his best work slightly further forward.

General view of Elland Road before the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Sheffield Wednesday at Elland Road on February 25, 2017 in Leeds, England.

Shaughnessy certainly has the confidence and the innate talent to do just that and it will be interesting to watch his career develop in the years ahead.

Christiansen opted for to play him in an unfamiliar role when circumstances dictated, yet he could not get the opportunities in his preferred position; especially with the games coming thick and fast over the festive period.

 

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