Struijk Proves to be Stop Gap for Leeds Against Wolves

Junior Firpo of Leeds United (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)
Junior Firpo of Leeds United (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images) /

Junior Firpo had a tough start to his Leeds United career but started the pre-season as the first team left back. Firpo was arguably the only true left-back on the squad.

After a great start to the pre-season friendly, Firpo suffered an MCL injury that would keep him out for eight weeks. It was a crushing blow to the player and the club as a rebound campaign was on the horizon.

Without a clear-cut option to fill in for Firpo, the board is still scanning the market for an affordable, yet dependable, replacement for the start of the season.

One option that saw emergency time in the position under Jesse Marsch is centre-back, Pascal Struijk.

Jack of all Trades

Struijk has had some extremely promising appearances in the Premier League as a centre-back and could be the future in that position.

At 6’3, Struijk is a presence in the box and can put the ball in the net off set pieces. He has solid mobility for a centre-back and has improved his passing.

Because he has good mobility for his size, Struijk can be trusted in different positions like left-back.

Not the ideal stand-in for the position but it is a credit to Struijk’s athleticism and football intelligence that he can make the adjustment to a new position and not hurt the team.

Leeds 2-1 Wolves Victory

Leeds United came out on top in the opener at Elland Road. The much-needed victory was achieved by a team effort.

The newcomers faired well as Brendan Aaronson was all over the pitch and controlled the first half. Marc Roca had an impressive showing along with fellow midfielder, Tyler Adams. The potential for growth and understanding of each other and the system is evident.

Struijk was able to play a solid 90 minutes at left-back and not concede too many strong chances.

Marsch’s tactics allow more space on the corners and that will be something to get used to on either side of the pitch. The narrow play should benefit the play of the full-backs and especially a player like Struijk.

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Despite being out of position, Struijk did an admirable job against a talented Wolves squad. Additionally, he was able to contribute on the other side of the pitch, making key passes to start the rush.