Tony Dorigo has told his Yorkshire Evening Post column that Pascal Struijk is doing a “wonderful” job at left-back for Leeds United and he has come on “leaps and bounds” – but thinks he is still better in the middle of the Leeds defence.
Struijk, 23, has been one of the first names on the team sheet this season. Alongside Illan Meslier, Robin Koch, Tyler Adams, Marc Roca and Brenden Aaronson. That is despite playing slightly out of position, on the left side of defence.
But he has been exceptional. So much so that he has made the preliminary squads for the Netherlands in September and then the World Cup – failing to make the final team under Louis van Gaal. But it shows how far he has come.
Ex-Leeds defender Dorigo has told his column that Struijk is doing an excellent job. He thinks Struijk has improved enormously, but still believes he is not a natural left-back and believes that his natural position is at centre-back.
“Clearly, Pascal is still playing at left back and I think he has done great for a left-sided centre half. He’s come on leaps and bounds. He’s trying to go forward more and he’s doing that pretty well,” Dorigo said in his YEP column.
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“Will he ever be the same as a specialist left back? No. But he’s doing a great job and you can see him playing along that backline for many a year. But I think we all agree that he is a left-sided centre half who is doing a wonderful job.”
Dorigo: Struijk doing a wonderful job at left-back for Leeds
Struijk is performing well. His Netherlands recognition, even without being included in the final squad by van Gaal and earning his first caps – shows how far he has come. But Dorigo is right, he looks like a centre-back playing left-back.
Given his age, you would expect that Leeds are already nurturing their long-term replacement for captain Liam Cooper. But you cannot imagine Struijk moving into the middle of the defence until the club sort out their left-back issue.