Leeds United defender Pascal Struijk keeping international options open following chat with head coach

Leeds United defender Pascal Struijk is keeping his international options open.

Wednesday, 12th May 2021, 3:03 pm
Leeds United defender Pascal Struijk. Pic: Getty

The 21-year-old has been somewhat of a breakout star this season at Elland Road, having made 24 Premier League appearances.

Struijk has been in impressive form under head coach Marcelo Bielsa as an assured presence in central defence whilst also filling in as a defensive midfielder when required.

He is eligible to represent the Netherlands and Belgium at international level though is yet to commit to either.

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The former Ajax academy product was born in Deurne but moved to Holland as a youngster and has represented the Flying Dutchmen at Under-17s level previously.

Belgium boss Roberto Martinez was keen on calling Struijk up to his Red Devils squad for the March international break yet his advances were spurned.

Struijk had applied for a Belgian passport in a bid to keep his options open while he mulled over a decision on who he would prefer to declare for.

It seems his preference would be to represent the Netherlands but he has revealed he is yet to speak to senior boss Frank de Boer over a potential call-up.

He has, though, discussed his future with the country's Under-21s boss and opted against involvement at development level to keep Belgium available as an option moving forward.

“I know that I am being followed seriously," Struijk told De Telegraaf over his international future.

"Every week I show that I can perform in the strongest competition in the world. It is up to the national coach to determine who will be called up.

“The KNVB [Dutch FA] is in contact with my management. I myself have not spoken with the national coach yet.

"I did call Erwin van de Looi [Netherlands' U-21 coach] a number of times before the group stage of the European Championship [in March] with Jong Oranje.

"As you know, my big goal is to play for the first team. That is also the reason that I did not want to opt for Jong Oranje [the Netherlands U-21] before. Because then I may not be able to represent Belgium anymore.

"I still have this position at the moment.

“There is something to be said for both options. They are of course also two beautiful football countries. They both have very strong advantages. I would be honoured to represent either of them."

Asked about his own game, he added: "I know that the position where I play [left central defender] is a very interesting one in today’s football. I think I am a complete player: physically strong and good on the ball.

“In addition, I can also work in midfield. At Leeds I have played in the No.6 position several times this season. So, I can be deployed in multiple positions and in multiple systems."