Holland legends voice outrage at treatment of under-fire Leeds United star

James Marshment
eeds United's Pascal Struijk (R) is consoled as he is sent off during the Premier League football match v Liverpool at Elland Road

Leeds United defender Pascal Struijk has been given a timely piece of support from Holland legends Marco van Basten and Ruud Gullit after the club launched an appeal to the FA over his suspension.

The centre-back is in the dock after an incident that saw Liverpool’s Harvey Elliott suffer a dislocated ankle on Sunday. Struijk won the ball, but his momentum resulted in a tangle of legs with Elliott suffering the freak injury.

And while referee Craig Pawson did not even blow for a free-kick initially, he then sent Struijk off once the seriousness of Elliott’s injury came to light.

Leaving the field on a stretcher, Elliott was taken to Leeds General Infirmary, where his ankle was set. The injury, however, still requires surgery and Elliott faces an untimely spell on the sidelines.

Revealing the latest, Reds manager Jurgen Klopp said on Tuesday lunchtime: “I spoke to him the night after the game already, [mentally] he was in the best possible place for that moment.

“He took it already, he accepted it already. He knew he would be out for a while.

“Today he is in London and will, as far as I know, probably have the surgery today.

“That’s, then, obviously the next step on the way back. We all wait for news from that after the surgery.”

Before Klopp spoke, Elliott made an exciting triple promise after beginning the road to recovery.

Indeed, the teenager also already absolved Struijk of any blame.

The good will though was not just one way either. Struijk himself has spoken out to apologise over the injury on Instagram, also offering words of sympathy to the player.

As things stand though, Struijk is facing a three-match suspension for the straight red card he received.

Leeds, however, on Tuesday launched an appeal with the FA to have the suspension overturned.

And with Diego Llorente picking up an injury earlier in the match, joining Robin Koch on the sidelines, Leeds will be down to one central defender should the appeal fail.

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And his chances of a reprieve have been given a timely lift by Van Basten and Gullit.

Reviewing the match for Dutch TV, the Dutch legends were both incensed that Struijk saw red.

“It’s not reckless,” Gullit told Ziggo Sport, relayed by De Telegraaf via Sport Witness, regarding the incident.

“You can clearly see that this is an accident. Why does he get a red card?” Van Basten added.

Struijk, meanwhile, remains eligible to play for either Holland or Belgium at international level.

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Diego Llorente provides injury update

Leeds’ troubles on Sunday were compounded by an injury sustained by star defender Diego Llorente. He hobbled off in the 33rd-minute to leave Leeds sweating on another possible lay-off.

However, the Spain defender has eased fears he could face a long spell on the sidelines.

And while he’s unsure whether he will be fit to face Newcastle, the Leeds medics can at least breathe a sigh of relief it’s nothing serious.

“Yesterday [Sunday] was a tough day due to the defeat at home and the injury,” Llorente said on Instagram.

“But there is no time to regret. It’s time to work harder than ever.

“Fortunately, I have nothing serious and I will be back soon. Thanks for all your support.”

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