By Saikat Mandal

5th Dec, 2022 | 1:40pm

Pascal Struijk shares how he feels about his new role at Leeds United

Pascal Struijk has admitted that playing as a left-back for Leeds United is a “difficult” new challenge for him, but it is exciting at the same time.

In the absence of regular left-backs at the club through injuries, Struijk was asked to fill in that role, a position he previously played under Marcelo Bielsa.

Despite having little experience operating as a left-back, Struijk has adapted well to his new role. It is demanding but he sees it as a way to improve his overall game.

“Since I’ve been at Leeds I’ve played in I don’t know how many positions,” said Struijk to Yorkshire Evening Post.

“It’s good to try something new and it’s a good thing that it’s going well. New challenges for me are always exciting, so I can improve my whole game and whole package as a player.

“I think [I played there] a couple of times under Marcelo when he was still here, or in the 23s, which was mainly fitness-focused so I had just a little experience, not too much.

“It’s a different position, it asks different things of you, you play much more one v one, you’re asked to go and attack way more, running up and down the pitch, playing one v one against great players. It is difficult but it’s a good challenge for me to have.”

Versatile

Struijk has made tremendous progress at Elland Road and his growth has surprised many. 

Bielsa spotted his talent and used him regularly in the Premier League. He was used as a defensive midfielder as well, but it became clear that he is more comfortable playing at the back. 

The 23-year-old has matured as a fantastic centre-back and he has really impressed playing in the left-back role as well. 

Struijk missed out on the Dutch squad for the World Cup, but he still has the age on his side to represent his country in major tournaments in the future. 

His rapid progress hasn’t gone unnoticed and the club are planning to offer him a new deal. 

Fabrizio Romano reported on 1 December that the Whites have an agreement on a new contract with the defender. The new contract extension will keep him at Elland Road until 2027 and he will be getting an improved salary. 

The long-term deal offered to him is an indication that the club have strong faith in his abilities, and they want to secure his best years at Elland Road.

In other Leeds United news, the Whites are aiming to get this “human wrecking ball” out of Elland Road in January.