Noel Whelan has tipped Marcelo Bielsa to bring Pascal Struijk back into the Leeds United starting XI at the expense of Jamie Shackleton against Crystal Palace.
The former Leeds striker and lifelong supporter at Elland Road, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, has suggested that the Dutch 21-year-old will bring some much-needed steel in the midfield after Monday’s 4-1 defeat to Leicester City.
Struijk, who was subbed off for Shackleton after just 21 minutes against Aston Villa, was left as an unused substitute for the Foxes’ visit to Elland Road.
Shackleton, a graduate of Leeds’ youth system, has established himself as a regular among the senior squad at Elland Road and is a popular figure among the supporters.
Whelan, who blasted Leeds’ first-half performance against Brendan Rodgers’ men, has tipped Bielsa to bring Struijk, naturally a defensive midfielder, back into the side and push Mateusz Klich into a more advanced role.
Asked if he thought the Belgium-born starlet would return for Saturday’s clash, Whelan told Football Insider: “Yeah, I think so. I think we saw the other night that it was misjointed, it never really clicked, the poorest first 45 minutes I’ve seen under a Marcelo Bielsa side, I think, the other night against Leicester.
“Poor passing, no movement, we didn’t get those passing sequences going out all – maybe once when Bamford was put through in and heavy touch but bar that.
“Shackleton, I think, might make way. As much as he was great against Aston Villa, we didn’t really see much of him in the first 45 minutes.
“I’m expecting because we’re away from home as well, you know, Struijk will give us a little bit more protection in front of the back four and will allow Mateusz Klich to be a bit more effective going forward with his diagonal runs he likes to make.
“He didn’t look the same player the other night, sitting in that deeper role so I would expect that one change, minimum.”
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