By Noel Whelan

12th Nov, 2021 | 10:21am

Pundit makes 'massive' Struijk claim and reveals what's 'amazing' about Leeds youngster

Pascal Struijk deserves “massive praise” for his display in an unfamiliar left-back role for Leeds United, according to Noel Whelan.

The former Whites striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, insisted the 22-year-old is a “fantastic footballer” capable of adapting to “any role” under Marcelo Bielsa.

Struijk played 90 minutes at left-back as Leeds United were held 1-1 against Leicester City on Sunday – having already starred in defensive midfield and centre-back roles this season.

Speaking after the game, and quoted by Leeds Live, Bielsa branded the Dutchman as a “very necessary player” because of his versatility and praised his “hard work, agility, management of both feet, and aerial game”.

6ft 3in Struijk has made 11 senior appearances for Leeds United this term after securing a starting berth last season.

Whelan insisted the 22-year-old did an “amazing job” in the full-back role, and highlighted his importance from set-piece situations.

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“He’s a fantastic footballer, and one who has the ability to adapt to any role Bielsa asks of him,” he told Football Insider‘s Ewan Kingsbury.

“It’s not his natural role, left-back, by any means – but he was fantastic, and did everything that was asked and required of him.

“He also adds that extra bit of physicality and height for set-piece situations, which is very important.

“It’s not easy to go from centre-half to a role which is a bit more demanding – especially going forward into those three-quarter zones. That is just what’s required.

“You have to give him massive praise because it won’t have been easy to adapt. He did an amazing job there for the team.”

Struijk joined the Leeds United youth set-up in 2018 from Ajax.

The left-footer has made 45 appearances for the Whites, scoring once.

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