Leeds United boss on changed Whites left-back picture and Premier League striker admission

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Whites boss Jesse Marsch says he is now feeling "strong” about Leeds United's left back options but would still like a Premier League ready striker, if his club can find the right man.

Leeds suffered a blow concerning their options on the left side of defence when first choice left back Junior Firpo suffered a pelvic tendon injury in pre-season at a time when the versatile Stuart Dallas is already out.

Dallas spent much of last season at left back but the Northern Ireland international is a long-term absentee as he recovers from a femoral fracture and Whites head coach Marsch used several other left back options in pre-season.

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Leif Davis featured in the position but was then sold to Ipswich Town and Pascal Struijk has largely filled the position since.

PRAISE: For Pascal Struijk, right, as a left back from Leeds United boss Jesse Marsch. Photo by Henry Browne/Getty Images.PRAISE: For Pascal Struijk, right, as a left back from Leeds United boss Jesse Marsch. Photo by Henry Browne/Getty Images.
PRAISE: For Pascal Struijk, right, as a left back from Leeds United boss Jesse Marsch. Photo by Henry Browne/Getty Images.

Winger Jack Harrison has also shifted back into the position in which 18-year-old defender Leo Hjelde can also be deployed in.

The injury to Firpo caused Leeds to reevaluate the picture at left back with a view to possibly signing another option in the summer transfer window but Marsch says the stance has now altered, especially with Firpo nearing a return from injury.

Asked how he assessed the situation at left back, how he thought Struijk was doing and if that was a position Leeds were still looking to potentially strengthen, Marsch declared: "I think Pascal is doing great, I think Junior is ready and he's looked really strong, even in rehab training.

"I think Leo Hjelde played really well in the 21s game.

"So currently I feel strong in that position.

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"Maybe at the beginning of when Junior got hurt and we weren't sure, but we wanted to look a little at Leif Davis.

"We wanted to look a little at Pascal, we wanted to look a little at Leo and right now I feel like we've covered that position really well.

"I had a video session with Pascal and for me he's getting better and better every match and getting more and more comfortable there. So I think that we feel good now."

Marsch did, though, admit that Leeds would benefit from recruiting another 'Premier League ready striker' to add to chief options Patrick Bamford, Rodrigo and Joe Gelhardt.

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Marsch has acknowledged his side's reported interest in 18-year-old FC Zurich striker Wilfried Gnonto but says the teen was viewed as a long-term project and not Premier League ready.

Asked if it was hard to weigh up whether Leeds needed a Premier League ready striker with Gelhardt waiting in the wings and Rodrigo in form, Marsch admitted: "I still feel to balance it out our squad effectively it would be helpful.

"But we need the right guy. We need the right guy.

"And I don't want to bring in somebody that's going to take three months to adapt and educate and then not be ready to help us.

"So there's the fact the variables in terms of how prepared they are, are, do they understand the type of football we want to play?

"Do they understand the league?

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"Can they play with this kind of quality at this kind of level?

"Can they run at the level and press at the level and also then be ready to play and be intelligent enough to execute our match plans for what we need?

"Those are the factors, so it's not just ‘yeah, we need a striker and pick them out of the sky’.

"It's who is the guy that can meet the standards and the balance of what we need within the squad.”