Former Leeds United striker Noel Whelan has backed Pascal Struijk to provide an adequate replacement for injured midfielder Kalvin Phillips.
Monday’s defeat against Wolves presented Marcelo Bielsa with a selection headache in the heart of his side’s defence, with both Diego Llorente and Liam Cooper ruled out through injury.
Approaching tonight’s Premier League tie with Aston Villa, the Whites are without Phillips, prompting Bielsa to claim that the Netherlands defender could move into a defensive midfield.
What has Whelan said regarding Pascal Struijk?
When asked about Leeds’ current injury problems and the form of Struijk, Whelan told Football Insider: “I think Struijk did very well against Wolves.
“He looked very assured at the back, very competitive in the air and his ball distribution was excellent.
“That said, it would be nice to have Liam Cooper back. They did the right thing pulling him out of the team because you could see him holding his groin in the warm up. There is no point risking him when Llorente is going to be out for another three weeks.
“We need him back as quickly as possible because we are light in that centre-half position now with those injuries.”
Is Struijk impressing?
Struijk is most natural at centre-back and it will be interesting to see if Bielsa does opt to play him higher up the pitch in Phillips’ role.
Replacing Phillips is a task in itself, but if the 21-year-old can fill the void left by the England international in midfield, he may yet grow to become an indispensable member of the Leeds squad.
Do you think Struijk can provide an adequate replacement for Phillips in the defensive midfield role? Let us know in the comments section below…
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