Midfield could be Conor Shaughnessy's Leeds lifeline

25th November 2017, Oakwell, Barnsley, England; EFL Championship football, Barnsley versus Leeds United; Joe Williams of Barnsley FC slides in to win the ball from Conor Shaughnessy of...

Conor Shaughnessy has very little experience of playing under the Leeds United boss.

25th November 2017, Oakwell, Barnsley, England; EFL Championship football, Barnsley versus Leeds United; Joe Williams of Barnsley FC slides in to win the ball from Conor Shaughnessy of...

Leeds United fans could be forgiven for forgetting all about Conor Shaughnessy.

After all, the towering Irish defender hasn't kicked a ball under Marcelo Bielsa in about 14 months and back-to-back loans away from Elland Road indicates that he has no future under the Argentine. At least, not as a centre-back.

That's virtually the only position that Shaughnessy has played in Leeds' senior side after getting a Championship debut from Thomas Christiansen back in 2017.

The former Reading product was a surprise hit during that season and posted a number of brilliant defensive displays, including against Premier League side Burnley in a League Cup win at Turf Moor.

Shaughnessy is due back at Thorp Arch next summer after being loaned to Mansfield Town, but could he return a slightly different player?

 

The big man has been playing in a defensive midfield role for the League Two side, not exclusively as a centre-back.

The 23-year-old joined Leeds from the Royals as a holding midfielder in 2016 and it was Christiansen who converted him into a central defender.

Perhaps when Bielsa decided that he didn't need Shaughnessy, he was judging him as a centre-back and using that as the basis, but it's plausible that he may have better use for him as a midfield anchor.

That's Kalvin Phillips's role right now and there isn't a single Championship player who would bench him, such is the Thorp Arch gem's talent, but if Shaughnessy continues to impress in that position from now until the end of the season then maybe, just maybe, it leads to a second chance under Bielsa.

As a centre-back he looks totally finished in West Yorkshire, but as a defensive midfielder there might yet be a lifeline.

Conor Shaughnessy of Leeds United during the Carabao Cup First Round match between Leeds United and Port Vale at Elland Road on August 9, 2017 in Leeds, England.

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