Danny Mills has suggested the real reason versatile Leeds United star Pascal Struijk was offered a new contract was because he triggered a clause in his previous deal.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Connor Whitley, the former Leeds and England full-back claimed it was “important” the club hold onto the 21-year-old because of their small squad.
The Whites announced last week that Struijk had committed his future with the club until at least 2024.
✍️ #LUFC are pleased to announce Pascal Struijk has signed a new deal until the summer of 2024
— Leeds United (@LUFC) November 20, 2020
Upon signing his new contract, Struijk said: “It’s always nice to be offered a new deal, it shows me confidence that the club believes in me and I am very happy.
“Playing in the Premier League and seeing the level you are playing against has always been a dream and I’m currently living the dream.”
Struijk has already started four Premier League games this season, twice as many as he did in the Championship last term.
Asked by Football Insider why he thinks Leeds offered the former Ajax player a new contract so early on in the season, Mills said: “I think it’s two-fold.
“When young players start to play regularly they attract attention from other clubs so you’re tying down your assets to make sure that they don’t go anywhere and to make them feel appreciated.
“There may well have been some sort of clause in his contract, after so many games as a renegotiation.
“It’s important when you have a small squad to tie down the quality players that you have.”
Struijk has featured in five games across all competitions for Leeds this season but was left on the bench against Arsenal on Sunday.
He has operated at the heart of Marcelo Bielsa’s defence and has deputised for Kalvin Phillips in midfield.