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Leeds starlet Pascal Struijk had a monstrous game against Derby

With Kalvin Phillips ruled out for the season with a knee injury last week, Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa was surely looking around his squad to see who could fill the boots of the Yorkshire Pirlo.

And in a monstrous game against Derby County in the Championship on Sunday afternoon, 20-year-old Pascal Struijk showed just why he could be the man to do just that.

Before coming on as a second-half substitute against Barnsley, the youngster had played just seven minutes of league football all season, and even that came back in December.

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But against the Rams on Sunday, Struijk looked every bit like the kind of talent that Bielsa can build his future midfield from if ever there was a scenario that Phillips left the club – reports in recent months have suggested that even rivals Manchester United are interested in him.

Struijk dominated the midfield battle, and with his 6 foot 3 frame, looked physically imposing as the anchor man in front of the defence. As per Sofascore, he made an impressive four interceptions in the time that he was on the pitch, which was actually just one less than what the rest of his teammates combined for.

And aside from reading the game well and coming out on top in the 50/50s (he won five total duels), Struijk showed he has another string to his bow when he has the ball at his feet too.

Can Struijk be as good as Phillips?

Yes

Yes

No

No

He completed 35 of his 40 passes, found his target with four out of the five long balls he attempted, and also showed he can take a man on by having an 100% dribble success rate.

It was the kind of break-out performance that would have left Bielsa nodding his head in approval, and why in the short-term at least, Struijk is someone he can rely upon to fill in for Phillips when needed.

But in the longer-term, if ever Leeds’ talisman does depart, then they may already have someone ready to step up to the plate.

Article title: Leeds starlet Pascal Struijk had a monstrous game against Derby

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