By Michael Brown

23rd Oct, 2020 | 10:34am

'Big Call' - Exclusive: Pundit reacts to early Leeds team news ahead of Villa clash tonight

Michael Brown insists Marcelo Bielsa has made a “big call” by choosing Pascal Struijk to replace Kalvin Phillips for Leeds United against Aston Villa.

The former Leeds midfielder, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, believes the manager’s openness will have given the 21-year-old a big confidence boost ahead of Friday’s clash.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference, as quoted by the Yorkshire Evening Post, Bielsa confirmed that Struijk would take Phillips’ place in the starting XI against Villa.

The England international is set to spend the next couple of weeks on the sidelines but, as revealed by Football Insider, he could be back immediately after November’s international break.

Brown has lauded Bielsa for being so up front about his team selection and insists it will have given Struijk a significant lift ahead of Friday’s crunch clash.

Brown told Football Insider: “So he did come out and say it in is presser – well, a big call.

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“What’s great about Bielsa is he tells you straight away, tells you what’s happening. As a player, it gives you the faith.

“He’s backed him and who are we to dare question?” 

Struijk has made just two Premier League starts this season, both of which have come as a centre-back in place of Liam Cooper.

He has a total of eight first-team appearances under his belt for the Whites and replaced Phillips in midfield for the final two Championship games last term.

In other news, Leeds United faced with crippling £200m+ bill after surprise deal agreed.