Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf has reported that a tug-of-war is beginning to emerge between Belgium manager Roberto Martinez and The Netherlands regarding the international future of Leeds United defender Pascal Struijk – with the left-footer available to play for either.
Struijk, 21, has been excellent for Leeds in the last couple of games – after a season in which he has been in and out of the side. He initially broke into the senior side towards the end of last season, and with both Diego Llorente and Robin Koch suffering injuries this time around – Struijk has been used on a regular basis.
He has featured 14 times in all competitions, now totalling 18 since he completed a move from Dutch side Ajax. He is expected to add to that on Wednesday night against Everton at Elland Road – having starred for the Whites in wins over Newcastle United and Leicester City. Struijk has played three times for the Netherlands Under-17 side – but was born in Belgium.
A fight for his future is emerging, at international level. De Telegraaf report that Martinez has made an early move to secure Struijk’s future – as he looks for long-term successors to Thomas Vermaelen and Jan Vertonghen, both left-footed centre-backs. Struijk is certainly showing the kind of potential required to replace either one of those players.
It is claimed that Martinez has spoken to Struijk on the phone, in an attempt to convince him to choose Belgium as his international side – over the Netherlands. It remains to be seen what his choice will be but in terms of left-footed centre-backs, the Netherlands have the much younger Nathan Ake in his position – compared to Belgian’s veteran left-footed centre-backs.
Once he plays competitively for one of the countries, he will be unable to change that decision.