By David Woods

21st Oct, 2020 | 10:14am

Dominic Matteo claims one Leeds player is 'naive' in PL & leaves the side less confident

Dominic Matteo has said that while young centre-back Pascal Struijk has done okay for Leeds United, he is also ‘naive’ at times.

He also said that when Struijk plays, the side is less confident at the back than when Liam Cooper is marshalling the defence.

Writing in his column in the Yorkshire Evening Post Matteo said, “I actually think Pascal has done okay, he has maybe just been a little naive at times with his defending.

“Looking at the goal, yes he slipped and maybe picked up a knock at that moment, but he got back into a good position and he’s very eager to go and win that ball.

“Sometimes when you’re a young player you’re drawn into that and you need to be aware of who is around you, see who is near and in support and decide if you really need to go in and challenge.”

Verdict is fair and to be expected

We’re not far off Matteo’s verdict on Struijk.

He’s definitely been used more than Marcelo Bielsa would have wanted this season and he’s had a real baptism of fire in the Premier League.

He had to play alongside debutant Robin Koch in the first game of the season against one of the best sides in Europe.

He did pretty well against Liverpool all things considered.

He wasn’t expecting to play against Wolves but was drafted in when Cooper was injured in the warm-up.

That’s never easy for a player, especially one with as little experience as Struijk.

The slip for the goal was especially unlucky. If Struijk hadn’t slipped and Raul Jimenez hadn’t scored, then we might be hailing a solid performance from Struijk and a brilliant point from Elland Road.

Yes, he can be naive at time and yes, there’s surely improvement to come. But it would be more of a surprise if he was the finished article at the age of 21.

His distribution is fantastic, he’s brilliant with both feet and he may well have a very important part to play on Friday against Aston Villa with Kalvin Phillips out.

In other Leeds United news, ‘Luckily’ – Kalvin Phillips posts upbeat message after injury news, Leeds players respond