Noel Whelan has tipped Pascal Struijk to start ahead of Jamie Shackleton in midfield for Leeds United against Leicester City on Monday night.
The former Leeds striker and lifelong fan of the Whites, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, has suggested that the Belgian-born 21-year-old is still Marcelo Bielsa’s first-choice replacement for Kalvin Phillips.
Speaking at his press conference on Friday, as quoted by Leeds Live, Bielsa confessed he was yet to pick his starting XI for Monday’s clash with the Foxes, with midfield general Phillips still out of action.
Struijk was brought in to replace the England international against Aston Villa but was replaced by Shackleton after just 21 minutes following an early booking.
However, Whelan has suggested that Bielsa will keep faith in the young enforcer and hand him a second-successive start against Leicester City.
Whelan told Football Insider: “Look, I think that’s the biggest one for him, will Struijk start in the midfield? Possibly he will, because with Kalvin out he is the number one choice.
“You saw how well Mateusz Klich did when he dropped back into that role and the energy and tenacity Jamie Shackleton brought to the midfield area.
“That to me is the biggest debate – who do you put in that position? Pascal Struijk, he’ll probably get the nod, I would have thought, but he needs to learn some lessons.
“He’s a young lad and to go in challenging in that sort of way and that manner early in a game, he’s going to have to curb that kind of enthusiasm or make sure he gets the tackle right.
“If he doesn’t, he’ll find himself on the back of another early substitution because we need to have people out there who are disciplined.
“He’s a young lad, I love his enthusiasm and Kalvin was a bit like that when he started. I’m hoping he will take on board the same lessons Kalvin had to.
“He does add that power in there, that little bit more height as well and it’ll be nice to see him get longer in the side seeing as Kalvin is going to be out.”
In other Leeds United news, Whelan has suggested that Celtic could sign a Whites loanee after Sunday.