Leeds United

Leeds United: Phil Hay not convinced by Pascal Struijk’s role

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Phil Hay has admitted that he doesn’t see Pascal Struijk as the solution to Leeds United’s left-back woes.

Left-back has often been a position of struggle for Leeds whether it be Marcelo Bielsa or Jesse Marsch in charge – especially since Ezgjan Alioski departed for Saudi Arabia.

Junior Firpo was brought in as the solution to their problems last summer from Barcelona, however, he has struggled to maintain fitness since arriving at Elland Road, which was also showcased during pre-season as he picked up a muscular injury.

On Saturday, Marsch deployed centre-back Struijk as a left-back, and despite receiving a 7.19 WhoScored rating in the win over Wolves, Hay suggested on The Phil Hay Show that he can’t be the long-term answer.

“I was thinking about Struijk because I don’t in any way think that that is a solution at left-back, and I don’t think it’s something that Leeds should stick with for any length of time.

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“But to give him his due, as a kind of 6ft 4, 6ft 5in centre-back, he tries to do the right things. He’s a very, very diligent footballer, in that even though that is clearly not his position and he probably has no interest in playing there – certainly not over 38 games – he does make the effort to do what a left-back should be doing in that position.”

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Despite having no natural options at left-back due to Firpo’s injury, which makes the decision to sell Leif Davis – a youngster who is natural in that position – to League One outfit Ipswich Town earlier in the summer a bizarre one, especially since nobody has since arrived.

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Of course, there is still plenty of time left in the transfer window and despite Struijk seemingly having a good game according to Hay, when Leeds come up against more efficient sides in the final third – Wolves were the fourth-lowest scorers in the league last season – the Dutchman may well get found out as a very tall centre-back having to play as a makeshift left-back.

However, as long as Leeds are picking up the points, Marsch may be reluctant to change a winning team, especially one that looked defensively solid for large parts on Saturday, giving up just five shots on target from inside their own box all game.

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