Danny Mills has tipped Pascal Struijk to get even better next season after a full season of Premier League under his belt for Leeds United.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-Whites and England defender suggested the 21-year-old’s performances will mean Marcelo Bielsa will not sign another centre-back this summer.
Struijk has played 25 Premier League games this season after making just five Championship appearances last term.
He put in another impressive display in Leeds’ 4-0 win over Burnley and won nine duels, the joint-most on the pitch according to sofascore.
“He’s been in there more often than not out of necessity because of injuries,” Mills told Football Insider correspondent Connor Whitley.
“Either Robin Koch, Diego Llorente or Liam Cooper. It’s been very rare that all three are fit to play.
“Struijk’s played in midfield at times, he’s played at the back. He’s shown that versatility.
“Now having his first season in the Premier League, that will have brought him on leaps and bounds.
“It’s difficult to grasp the amount you learn in that first season in the Premier League. The speed of the game, the speed of thought, the tactics. It’s two or three levels up from the Championship. He’s four times better than last season.
“To have a season of that high-quality football gives you a real opportunity to learn and get better. Suddenly, he’ll come into next season with the belief and confidence of ‘Oh, I can do it at this level. I know what’s expected, I know what’s coming and I can do it.’
“All of sudden you put all these things together and the manager is looking at it and thinking ‘There’s a decent player here. Maybe I don’t need to go out and buy somebody else because this player has taken his opportunity.”