Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa has said that Pascal Struijk may be called upon to step up and fill in for injured midfielder Kalvin Phillips.
Whites boss Bielsa followed up his side’s opening day Premier League defeat to Liverpool with a run of three games unbeaten before Monday evening’s 1-0 loss to Wolverhampton Wanderers.
The game against Wolves offered Bielsa a selection headache in the heart of his side’s defence with both Diego Llorente and Liam Cooper ruled out through injury.
Robin Koch and Struijk were partnered at the back for Leeds but the latter suffered an injury and now is a doubt for Friday’s game against Aston Villa.
Despite Struijk’s injury problems, Bielsa has said that the young Belgian could be in line to replace Phillips in the coming weeks.
What has happened to Phillips and what has Bielsa said?
The Whites confirmed that Phillips damaged his shoulder in the defeat to Wolves and could face up to six weeks out of action.
Speaking on the defensive midfielder’s absence, Bielsa has now tipped Struijk to replace the England international via his latest press conference.
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“I didn’t have the definitive amount of time that Phillips was going to be out for. I understand that the information is incorrect.
“It’s not defined how long he will be out for. It could be more or it could be less. The one who will play in his place will be Pascal [Struijk].”
Can Struijk step up and make an impact in midfield?
The former Leeds under-23 player made just his second first team appearance on Monday evening and he did face slightly harsh judgement from some pundits, with former Elland Road defender Dominic Matteo saying the youngster looked ‘naive’ and that his presence saw the team suffer a ‘confidence’ issue.
Whilst Bielsa is keen to tinker with his side, it may be a wise decision that Struijk learns his usual position in the Premier League without getting moved about.
The defender may not get the chance to step up anyway to midfield, given the injury problems at the back for Bielsa.
Do you think Struijk could do a good job in defensive midfield? Let us know in the comments section below…
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