By Nick Ware

10th Oct, 2021 | 12:11pm

Confirmed Leeds United U23s starting XI v Sunderland as Pascal Struijk starts

Pascal Struijk has been named in the Leeds United Under-23s starting XI that takes on Sunderland in the Premier League Cup on Sunday afternoon.

The Belgian-born defender has not started a senior game since the 3-0 defeat to Liverpool at Elland Road on September 12, where he was dismissed in controversial circumstances for his challenge on Harvey Elliott.

The 22-year-old was suspended for three games and missed games with Newcastle United, Fulham and West Ham.

He returned for the 1-0 win over Watford last weekend, appearing as a substitute in the dying embers of the game.

Struijk will be the senior man in today’s team managed by Mark Jackson, though Crysencio Summerville will also be bringing some first-team experience to a youthful-looking Under-23s side.

Jackson has been shorn of the services of the likes of Joe Gelhardt and Sam Greenwood due to international duty.

Leeds confirmed the team via their official Twitter account prior to kick-off.

Back to full fitness

Struijk will be hoping to get back up to speed as soon as possible to boost his chances of breaking back into Marcelo Bielsa’s starting XI for the first team.

He began the first four games of the season before being dropped against Liverpool.

However, he was required from the bench early on as Diego Llorente broke down with another injury.

His red card against the Reds will have come as a great disappointment, especially in the circumstances, so he will be desperate to prove himself once again.

It may be a difficult task to get straight back in, however, after the club’s first Premier League clean sheet of the season last time out, with Llorente scoring the winner.

But there is a League Cup clash against Arsenal around the corner, and he will be eyeing that as his return to the senior starting XI.

In other Leeds United news, the Whites are set to splash out on transfer fees in ‘the coming months’ after this major development.