Football journalist Beren Cross has claimed that Leeds United man Pascal Struijk will become a ‘supreme centre-back’ in the future.
Over the weekend, the Dutch defender showed his quality when he was asked to play left-back in Leeds 1-1 draw against Leicester City. His performance in his new position drew great praise from manager Marcelo Bielsa.
Indeed after the game, the Argentine told LeedsLive: “He’s a very hard-working man. In the mental and the physical assimilation of a new position. Throughout the week he was looking for solutions in a new position.”
Will Pascal Struijk become world class?
Of course, Struijk more regularly turns out for his side as a central defender, though he has also anchored the midfield this season.
This versatility had Cross claiming that the 22-year-old has all the attributes to make it at the top of the game. While speaking on a Leeds United Live Facebook stream, he claimed that the ‘under the radar’ Struijk has ‘got the lot’.
Cross said: “He’s [Bielsa] worked with so many players in world football, and for him to say the things he’s saying about Pascal, it’s very, very exciting.
“Defenders don’t always get a very exciting press. It’s all about Raphinha, it’s all about Joe Gelhardt. But Pascal is the future.
“And the longer he stays under the radar, the better, because he’s got the lot, to be honest. And at some point, there will be a changing of the guard and he’s going to become a supreme centre-back.”
TIF Thoughts on Pascal Struijk and Leeds…
The fact that Bielsa is willing to trust Struijk in a number of different positions does certainly suggest that the Dutchman’s intelligence and technical ability to adapt to these roles must be fairly high.
However, there is always the fear that he could end up being seen as a utility player if he continues to be shifted around the park. At just 22 years of age, Struijk is probably just coming to the point in his career where he should now be looking to establish himself in one key position.
If he is to become a ‘supreme centre-back’ as Cross suggests, he will have to contest the position with the likes of Diego Llorente, Robin Koch, and Liam Cooper. Fortunately for Struijk, he is the youngest of the three and certainly has time on his side.