By Saikat Mandal

12th Sep, 2022 | 12:40pm

Leeds United defender Pascal Struijk makes international career choice

Leeds United defender Pascal Struijk is yet to make his international debut, but he has more-or-less made up his mind about his country preference.

Struijk has been selected for the Netherlands’ provisional squad for the UEFA Nations League fixtures against Poland and Belgium during the international break this month.

The Whites defender was born in Belgium and Roberto Martinez would love to have him in his squad as well.

However, he couldn’t play for Belgium because of passport problems.

”That’s gone now. At the time I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. Then I considered everything, but the Netherlands is my first choice,” said Struijk, as quoted by ESPN.

”If I am elected, I will choose Orange. It means a lot to me. It’s the first time I’m even in the preselection. I was met by the media manager after the training and he told me the news. My phone was full of messages and then I felt like a little kid. 

“It’s very nice to experience and now let’s hope that I’ll be in the final selection soon. If I am in that selection, I will also choose the Netherlands. That’s my first choice.”

Fantastic

Struijk has developed into a fantastic defender for the Whites, and it’s time for him to show his class at the international level as well.

He blossomed under Marcelo Bielsa. The Argentine used him at centre-back and also in defensive midfield.

Capable of playing out smart passes, and equally adept at strong defending, Struijk is one player who has improved immensely in the past two seasons.

The trend has continued under Jesse Marsch as well. The 23-year-old has made six starts in the Premier League, and his performances have caught the attention of Louis van Gaal.

His numbers are impressive. This season, he has managed 3.5 tackles per game and has made 1.8 interceptions, as per Whoscored.com.

While he can still improve on maintaining possession and playing out accurate long balls, he did manage one assist to his name so far.

Playing for the Holland team will benefit him, as he can learn a lot from Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk, who is arguably one of the best defenders in the Premier League.

In other Leeds United news, the Whites have reached an agreement to sign a left-back, according to his agent.