Leeds: Marsch must unleash Struijk

Leeds United boss Jesse Marsch is dealing with several injury problems ahead of his side’s return to Premier League action this afternoon.

The Whites welcome Wolverhampton Wanderers to Elland Road to kickstart the 2022/23 campaign but the American head coach is without as many as six first-team players.

That includes his only senior left-back, Junior Firpo, and his usual alternative, Stuart Dallas.

The former Barcelona man picked up a problem in their 4-0 win over Blackpool last month and was subsequently ruled out for the start of the new season. He could be another two or three weeks away from a return.

Meanwhile, the latter suffered a major injury against Manchester City at the back end of last season and he isn’t likely to feature again in 2022.

Leeds have signed as many as six new faces this off-season but none have been with the left-back role in mind, so it leaves Marsch awfully short on options.

As a result, he must turn to the colossal Pascal Struijk, who can do more than a job outside of his natural central defensive position.

The Dutchman featured in 29 of the Whites’ top-flight matches last term, where he was deployed in as many as three different roles, as per Transfermarkt.

He was involved in both matches against the Old Gold last season, where he helped steer the Yorkshiremen to four points, once at centre-back and the other time in defensive midfield.

Given the threat that Wolves have on offer with the likes of Pedro Neto and Adama Traore on the books, Marsch will need a stern presence like Struijk to combat them.

When compared to his positional peers across Europe, the former Ajax graduate ranks inside the top 1% for pressures (16.95 per 90), as well as the top 2% for tackles (2.98 per 90) and the top 4% for blocks (2.50 per 90), via FBref.

Should Struijk start against Wolves today?

YES!

YES!

NO!

NO!

It’s no wonder that the £13m-rated titan, who stands at a whopping 6 foot 3, has been described as a “monster” by journalist Daniel Fraiz-Martinez.

As such, Marsch must entrust him with the task of keeping Wolves’ right flank quiet in front of their home crowd later today. It could prove to be a game-changing call from the American as he looks to change Leeds’ fortunes this campaign.

AND in other news, Beren Cross drops transfer update…