Struijk, started the current Premier League campaign under Marcelo Bielsa as a bit part player, stepping up to deputise in the centre-back position or in the holding midfield role, while occupying a regular spot on the bench.


However, the 21-year-old has caught the eye with a string of solid displays at the heart of the backline, with senior centre-backs Liam Cooper, Robin Koch and Diego Llorente all missing chunks of the season owing to injury and suspension.



And former Leeds star Dorigo has lauded Struijk for his aggressive approach to dealing with powerful centre-forwards, clearly raising his game and succeeding in throwing his name in the hat for a permanent starting role.


Dorigo explained that apart from the physical facets of his game, Struijk has made strides in the psychological side of his craft as well, with his mental fortitude coming to the fore in recent outings.



“This lad [Struijk] has been absolutely fantastic”, Dorigo told LUTV.


“I think what I saw early on was he has got a strength about him.


“I like the way he competes with big centre-forwards, muscular, it does not matter, he knocks them out of the way, gets on with his game, but I think his mental fortitude is something that is coming to the fore and he has been tremendous, he really has.



“And you are probably looking at the start of the season thinking ‘oh how many games is he going to get, is he going to fill in for Kalvin Phillips?’.


“Now I am thinking, ‘okay, how do you get him out if the side.’


“Okay we have got Coops [Cooper], we have got Koch, but Struijk is playing fantastically well and fair play, I think he is doing great.”


With Koch fit to play in addition to Struijk, and Cooper still serving a suspension, it remains to be seen who Bielsa will partner Llorente with in the backline on Saturday when Leeds take on Brighton & Hove Albion in the top flight.