Pascal Struijk’s mixed form at centre-back for Leeds United is because he has not played with a regular partner, according to Danny Mills.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Whites and England defender pointed to the example of Virgil Van Dijk “nursing” his young partner Joe Gomez through games.
Struijk earned praise for his display in Leeds’ 3-1 victory over Leicester City last weekend but struggled against Everton in midweek.
He has played eight Premier League games at the heart of defence this term with summer signings Diego Llorente and Robin Koch struggling with injuries.
Asked for his assessment of the 21-year-old’s recent performances, Mills told Football Insider correspondent Connor Whitley: “He’s a young player, he hasn’t played a huge amount of football.
“It’s always going to be about finding that level of consistency.
“He’s had to deal with several different partners at centre-half and that’s never easy having to contend with that.
“When you have centre-half partnerships you always have one regular, look at Van Dijk playing alongside Joe Gomez, he helps Joe Gomez and nurses him through.
“Struijk’s had to deal with lots of different partners in that time – Ayling and Cooper. That’s not easy.
“Everton are a good team, you have to remember that. Everton had a poor performance and they had to bounce back and step up as well.
“It is what it is sometimes. With young players you’re always going to get slight inconsistencies.”
Struijk played just five times in the Championship last term but has featured in 14 games across all competitions this season.
In his eight starts at centre-back this season, Leeds have kept two clean sheets.