Sheffield United announce first signing: What can Jamie Shackleton offer the Blades?

It’s been a busy 24 hours for Sheffield United Football Club as they can now announce two experienced Championship players have signed contracts as part of Chris Wilder’s rebuild.

Firstly, back-up goalkeeper Adam Davies has signed a contract extension which will keep him at Bramall Lane until 2026. And the Blades welcome a new face to Shirecliffe as former Leeds United midfielder Jamie Shackleton has joined the club on a three-year deal.

Shackleton, 24, did have a new deal on the table at Leeds United but he chose to reject that offer and move to South Yorkshire instead to be Chris Wilder’s first summer acquisition as part of a major rebuild.

Shackleton is a versatile midfielder who is capable of playing as a right-wingback and even left-wingback if needed.

Like previous Blades player Ben Osborn, Shackleton is often one of the smallest players on the field. However, his size is offset by his remarkable work rate and energy.

What can Jamie Shackleton bring to Sheffield United?

Both players are known for their relentless running and versatility on the pitch. Last season, Shackleton demonstrated his adaptability by playing in multiple positions, including left-back, right-back, right-midfield, and central midfield, all within 700 minutes of football for Leeds United.

Shackleton excels in maintaining possession, progressing the ball forward, and winning it back: critical attributes for a team looking to deploy a dynamic style of play.

His passing completion rate stood at 87% last season, placing him in the 98th percentile for Championship full-backs on FBref (they class him as a full-back because he played more games there than at midfield last term). This indicates his reliability in distribution.

Moreover, Shackleton’s progressive passing statistics, with just over four per 90 minutes, position him slightly above average. However, he shows a clear preference for carrying the ball forward rather than passing it. He ranks in the 96th percentile for progressive carries and the 82nd percentile in progressive distance. This means he not only advances the ball frequently but also covers significant ground per carry, a valuable trait for breaking through opposition lines and advancing play during counter-attacks.

Shackleton’s ability to drive the ball into critical areas is noteworthy. He ranks in the 95th percentile for carries into the final third and the 98th percentile for carries into the penalty area.

In addition to his attacking skills, Shackleton shows impressive defensive abilities, particularly in advanced areas of the pitch. He ranks in the 98th percentile for tackles in the final third, highlighting his ability to disrupt opposition play and initiate turnovers high up the field. Combined with his high energy and pressing ability, Shackleton could enhance Sheffield United’s capability to press opponents and recover possession quickly.

My view on Jamie Shackleton

This to me looks like a really good pick-up on a free transfer for Sheffield United. Shackleton will likely be more of a substitute off the bench in certain situations. For example, I can see several instances where Chris Wilder brings him on to protect a lead; he could move to a 5-3-2 shape and deploy Shackleton on the right of a midfield three. From there Shackleton would provide defensive support to Jayden Bogle as well as offering bags of energy at the end of the game to break forward and potentially kill the game off.

Tags Adam Davies Jamie Shackleton Transfers

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