Michael Bridges has discussed what Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa is going to do in his defence over the next few games, after Liam Cooper’s straight red card in the previous result leaves him with an imminent decision to make.
Whites captain and centre-back Cooper is missing from the next three league matches as he serves his suspension for the red card he picked up in the 2-1 win over Manchester City.
That leaves two from three first-team centre-halves in the squad to start in the backline.
Spain international Diego Llorente appears to have nailed down his spot in the XI, coming into great form since his return from injury.
Ex-Leeds player Bridges has claimed that younger Struijk would be the more natural fit to partner him in the heart of defence, but doesn’t rule out the inclusion of Koch.
He, like so many Leeds fans, want to see who Bielsa starts at centre-back in the team’s next game on Monday against Liverpool.
“Concerns, definitely, he’s the leader and the captain,” Bridges told Optus Sport when discussing Cooper’s upcoming suspension.
“Who’s he going to go with? Is he going to go for the more naturally left-sided player (Struijk), or is he going to go for Llorente and Koch? It’s going to be interesting to see what Bielsa does.”
Bielsa had the luxury of four fit Leeds centre-backs against Man City. He went with a Llorente-Cooper combination to start the match, with Struijk entering the action when the captain was substituted off.
It’s difficult to read too much into that though as Koch also came off the bench to accommodate the switch to a back three to deal with the Man City attack.
Llorente and Koch were the two summer additions that were signed to improve the defence at Elland Road, but at the same time Struijk’s emergence in the first team has been impressive and he’s certainly not let anyone down when he’s played.