Leeds United manager Daniel Farke has praised the “crucial part” that defender Pascal Struijk has played in his squad so far this season, claiming that he is happy with how the Dutchman has adapted to his playing philosophy.
Struijk’s future in the Whites squad was far from certain during the summer amid reports that the centre-back could be set for a move away after enduring a difficult period at Elland Road, but since being handed a place in the starting XI in Leeds’ season opener against Cardiff he hasn’t looked back.
Having started every game – along with being handed the captain’s armband in recent times – Struijk is now a constant for manager Farke in the left centre-back position alongside Tottenham Hotspur loanee Joe Rodon.
And given that Leeds’ weak defence so often proved their Achilles heel during their most recent stay in the Premier League, improving in terms of both quality and consistency in this area was one of Farke’s key remits when taking the reins in West Yorkshire.
The new tactical systems employed by the German – which include an emphasis on retaining possession and building up play from the back – have worked wonders for Leeds so far, with three consecutive league wins seeing Farke’s side climb to 3rd in the Championship standings.
Whilst this new system does put a lot of pressure on the Leeds backline, not only in terms of defending but also in kickstarting attacks, Farke was quick to single out Struijk for his adaptability in adjusting to a new method of playing.
“He adapted well to my demands and he’s played a crucial part,” Farke told the media during his pre-match press conference earlier today.
“We don’t have to talk about his skills with the ball. I’m very pleased with his development.”
Farke will be hoping for another three points, and a clean sheet to boot, when his side travel to the Bet365 Stadium to face Stoke City tomorrow evening.