Leeds United defender Pascal Struijk looked “really uncomfortable” at centre-back against Cardiff City, claims Clinton Morrison.
The Lowdown: Leeds struggle
A poor first-half performance saw the Premier League side 2-0 down at half-time and booed off by the travelling Leeds faithful.
Despite the visitors seeing most of the ball early on Cardiff took the lead after 24 minutes through Jaden Philogene before Sheyi Ojo pounced on more poor defending to double their lead on the half-hour mark.
One Leeds defender in particular was singled out, with Struijk not covering himself in glory one bit with his part in the Cardiff opener.
The Latest: Morrison’s comments
Whilst covering the game on Sky Sports Soccer Sunday, Morrison pinpointed the Dutchman’s early uncertainty with him saying on the opener (quoted by Sky Sports):
“Cardiff haven’t been in the game, it’s been all Leeds, but it’s a brilliant goal from the youngster!
“If you don’t take your chances then you get punished. Struijk looks really uncomfortable at centre back.”
The Verdict: Struijk struggles
His performance got better in the second half, though he still did lose possession a whopping 14 times. He finished with eight duels won, 128 touches and an impressive 89% passing accuracy, with very little to do as the game progressed (Sofascore).
Despite centre-back being his preferred position with his 66 appearances in the middle of defence much higher than any other position he’s been deployed in, his recent role as a left-back has clearly left some rustiness.
The 23-year-old has featured 16 times at left-back this season for Leeds with Jesse Marsch favouring him out wide rather than the more orthodox left-back Junior Firpo who’s played the majority of his career on the left-hand side of the defence.
With Firpo brought in and the American opting to rotate his side, Struijk slotted into centre-back for the first time this season but has flattered to deceive in a position he’d call natural, but hasn’t played in for months.
With new signing Maximilian Wober coming off the bench for his debut, it’ll surely only accelerate the likelihood that his involvement in the starting 11 becomes imminent.
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