Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa has admitted Conor Shaughnessy has the "skills to be inside the team" despite struggling to breakthrough this season.
The 22-year-old has made just one first-team appearance under Bielsa so far which came in a 2-0 home defeat against Preston North End in the League Cup.
Shaughnessy has seen chances become limited due to several injury issues throughout the campaign but has made a number of outings for the Whites Under-23s side.
Bielsa, who was speaking ahead of this weekend's Championship clash with Queens Park Rangers, admitted that there had been a "struggle" in the team and appeared to indicate Aapo Halme was now ahead of the Irishman in the pecking order in LS11.
"There is a struggle inside the team to be a part of the group and when you get a position inside the team it’s not the final one," Bielsa admitted. "You can be among the 18 or 19 players and in some moments you can be out of this list.
"Shaughnessy has skills and conditions. He has been a little bit sanctioned by the injuries, but he has the skills to be inside the team."
The Argentine head coach was also asked about defender Halme who has made the leap into the senior ranks in recent weeks due to the ongoing injury crisis at Thorp Arch.
"He did balanced games," the 63-year-old said. "He is a duty player, he does what the team needs from him.
"He’s not the kind of player that you will see as an individual inside a game. He took his responsibilities when he had to play instead of Liam Cooper the other day, it was a difficult game and he gave a good response."