Leeds United centre-back Pascal Struijk missed Saturday’s Premier League fixture due to a foot injury.
That’s according to a claim made by Phil Hay, with The Athletic journalist revealing on Twitter that the 22-year-old defender was in line to feature in the Whites’ trip to Stamford Bridge this weekend. However, the former Netherlands under-17 international picked up a foot injury in training on Friday, which subsequently ruled him out of the clash in west London.
In his 13-word tweet on Saturday, Hay said: “Struijk was going to play today but injured his foot in training yesterday.”
Considering the sheer volume of injuries that a number of Leeds United’s most important players have picked up in recent weeks, the news that Struijk could now join his stricken teammates in the treatment room will undoubtedly have left the Elland Road faithful gutted.
Indeed, centre-forward Rodrigo missed Saturday’s 3-2 defeat in London due to a knock to his heel, centre-back Robin Koch was unavailable due to illness, and Patrick Bamford, Kalvin Phillips and Liam Cooper were all sidelined due to hamstring injuries.
These absentees, coupled with the injury to the £8.1m-rated Struijk, resulted in Marcelo Bielsa having no other option but to field right-back Luke Ayling in the heart of defence. Although the 30-year-old turned in an admirable display at Stamford Bridge, it was hardly an ideal scenario against a Chelsea attack consisting of Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Mason Mount, Romelu Lukaku and Callum Hudson-Odoi.
With the fixtures not getting any easier for the Whites in the coming weeks – Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool are up next for Bielsa’s side – should the 22-year-old be ruled out for any length of time, Leeds could easily see themselves being dragged back into a relegation scrap come Christmas.