Diego Llorente has applauded his Leeds United teammate Pascal Struijk with plenty of praise following the youngster’s recent performances in the first-team.
Speaking to the Yorkshire Evening Post, the Spanish international was full of positive words for the 21-year-old centre-back who has enjoyed a breakout season under Marcelo Bielsa in the Premier League, with the defender making 28 appearances this campaign in all competitions and establishing himself as one of the first names on the teamsheet.
The Netherlands U21 international has won plenty of plaudits from both supporters and fellow teammates this season, with club captain Liam Cooper calling the defender ‘unbelievable’ in an interview with BBC Radio Leeds earlier this month, and Llorente has also been eager to praise his newfound centre-back partner.
The former Real Sociedad defender said on Struijk: “I think he’s become a key player, despite his age. He’s shown what it takes at this level to help the team in the centre of defence or in the centre of midfield. It’s come to him at a young age and, when it happens, you can only benefit from the experience it gives you.”
TBR View: Patience with Struijk is paying off hugely for Bielsa
Although Struijk joined Leeds in the summer of 2018, this season has been the one where the former Ajax academy player has grown into his own after two years mainly playing with the U23’s and working alongside the first-team in Bielsa’s infamous high-intensity training sessions.
And this patience with the young centre-back and allowing Struijk to learn the system, as well as the culture of the English game, is paying off in a big way for both Bielsa and Leeds.
Despite playing just five league games last season, Struijk has flourished into one of the Premier League’s most exciting young defenders, and his newly discovered partnership with Llorente can only be a positive for the Yorkshire club heading into the final games of the league season.