Pascal Struijk speaks in an interview about learning how to play left back, and his season so far.
The 23-year old has grown into his new role this season, and is relishing the opportunity so far. Being played out of position is not new to Struijk, he has been used in multiple positions since he arrived at the club. The Dutchman played in midfield under Marcelo Bielsa, and is now at left back this season under Marsch.
Speaking to LeedsLive, Struijk says he is enjoying the new position and keeping Junior Firpo out of the side:
“Junior has played there for way longer than I have, so asking him and Bill (Luke Ayling), the players who play right-back, Stuey [Dallas], asking them for advice,” he said. “Now I’ve played quite a few games, so I’m getting pretty used to it and if I run into trouble I can always ask them.”
On competition with Firpo, he said: “As a team, we are always happy for each other. Of course, there’s a wanting to play because every player wants to play, but no matter what everyone supports each other, even if they’re not in the team.”
Struijk on the difference between positions
Pascal’s attributes on and off the ball suit many roles so it is not a surprise Marsch experimented with him at fullback. His athleticism and aggressiveness are key in that area. The 23-year old described the difference between playing in the centre of defence and at left back:
“It’s a different position, it asks different things of you,” he said. “You play much more one vs 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.”
He added: “I probably have to be [more agile and dynamic], playing against the good, tricky wingers. Physically, I am running way more up and down the pitch. My high speed is probably more than it has been at centre-back, which is tricky sometimes, but it’s fun as well.”
Struijk has started 13 of Leeds’ 14 games this season, with a lot of impressive displays at the back. Leeds resume their Premier League campaign on the 28th of December against Manchester City.