By Mark Smith

28th Oct, 2020 | 9:15pm

Dom Matteo blown away by 'Outstanding' response of Leeds ace after key moment

Dominic Matteo has praised Leeds United midfielder Pascal Struijk for his response to being substituted early in the 3-0 win at Aston Villa.

The Dutch youngster was booked early at Villa Park and was skating on thin ice before being taken off for Jamie Shackleton.

Marcelo Bielsa has been praised for that decision by many, as his side went on to cruise to victory against a previously-unbeaten side.

Matteo praised Struijk in his Yorkshire Evening Post column, backing him to learn and bounce back from the disappointment.

“The change early on was obviously massive with Pascal Struijk going off for Jamie Shackleton and the way that Pascal dealt with that was outstanding I felt,” he said.

“He was disappointed to be taken off and it was a long and lonely walk for him, it was the right decision for the team though and that’s what Bielsa is all about – the team is the priority and you are just a cog in the machine.

“I have no doubt that Pascal will be back and better for the situation.”

With Kalvin Phillips still out injured for the game against Leicester, it is likely that Struijk will get another chance in that role on Monday.

The other options would be to keep Shackleton in the side, or give Diego Llorente his debut should the Spaniard and Liam Cooper return.

Struijk has already made more appearances than he would have expected in the Premier League this season, and he has definitely held his own.

No one has averaged more clearances than the 21-year-old in the entire squad (4.7) according to WhoScored – and his menacing presence is a great weapon for Leeds to have.

Matteo is right to praise Struijk, and he will likely get another chance to prove himself against Leicester on Monday.

In other Leeds United news, Jermaine Beckford predicts result in Whites clash v Leicester

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