By Sean Fisher

21st Sep, 2022 | 8:21am

David Prutton lays down challenge for returning Leeds United left-back Junior Firpo

David Prutton has challenged Junior Firpo to return to the Leeds United squad and replace Pascal Struijk in his favoured left-back position.

After suffering an injury in pre-season that ruled him out for the start of Leeds’ Premier League campaign, Firpo looks to be back in contention at Elland Road for the upcoming clash against Aston Villa.

The Dominican left-back featured 24 times for Jesse Marsch’s side last season and was looking bright in pre-season before being sidelined with a pelvic injury.

Struijk has taken his place on the left despite preferring a more central role, and Prutton insists Firpo should be trying to kick the Dutchman out of his position.

“There will be a lot asked with regards to getting forward from that position given how narrow potentially the attack is for Leeds,” said the Sky Sports host, as quoted by the Yorkshire Evening Post.

“His next challenge is to knock Struijk out of his position.”

Healthy competition

While the tail-end of Marcelo Bielsa’s tenure was spent filling in gaps with out of position players, there is now an abundance of competition for places in Marsch’s squad.

Firpo was viewed as the obvious first-choice left-back at the start of the season, but Struijk has filled in superbly in his absence. Marsch will have a few selection headaches on his mind over the international break as a handful of players return to fitness.

But Marsch’s choice may come down to style and strategy more than fitness. While both are very capable left-backs, Struijk and Firpo are completely different in their style of play.

If Marsch prefers an attacking full-back willing to overlap, then Firpo is a great choice on the left. In contrast, Struijk’s defensive abilities and aerial threat make him a great choice in a game where Leeds may look to tighten up at the back.

Having such variety and versatility in the squad is hugely important – it’s now down to Marsch to utilise it.

In other Leeds United news, Chelsea are interested in signing Victor Orta, according to reports