Leeds United’s Pascal Struijk looks set to break into Marcelo Bielsa’s first-team at some point this season with the Whites boss ‘ready’ to fast-track him, according to a report by Football Insider.
The centre-back was recently handed a new deal by the club to extend his stay at Elland Road for the “foreseeable future” and has since been tipped to play a role for the Argentine.
It is understood the Dutch defender has left a positive impression on Bielsa following his performances for Carlos Corberan’s developmental side, which could see his position at the club elevated.
As per the report by Football Insider, Struijk has been nothing short of immense this season for Leeds’ development side as he has helped Corberan’s team to keep four clean sheets in his five appearances, whilst also showing he has the ability to be a threat in the opponent’s box with two goals.
A former Ajax youngster, the 20-year-old has been tipped for big things recently, with the Yorkshire Evening Post suggesting that he could be called upon as a strong back-up for the likes of Ben White, Liam Cooper and Gaetano Berardi.
Indeed, with no other options and last season’s concerns with injuries likely to still be fresh in the mind of Bielsa, there should not be a real surprise that Struijk is being lined up for an opportunity at some point this season.
The Argentine has shown plenty of faith in youth before (something Corberan has praised publicly), with the likes of Jack Clarke and Jamie Shackleton both getting their chances throughout the previous campaign and it would not appear as though he is far off from replicating his former academy team-mates.
Struijk was on the bench during Leeds’ 3-0 victory over Stoke City at the beginning of the campaign as well as both of the play-off semi-final matches against Derby County last season (Transfermarkt).
With both Cooper and White playing rather well for Leeds at the moment (a quick peruse of their defensive stats on WhoScored would immediately highlight how well they have been performing) and the more established option in Berardi available, it would be difficult to see Struijk breaking into Bielsa’s side imminently.
However, that is not to say that it will not happen as the Argentine has shown faith in playing anybody he deems ready regardless of age and the fact that the 20-year-old was recently handed a new contract, perhaps, speaks volumes about just how highly-rated he is by those at Elland Road.
Leeds fans, would you like to see Struijk playing for the first-team soon? Let us know your thoughts by sharing them in the comments below!
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