Leeds United handed major fitness boost ahead of pre-season start as key player returns

-Credit: (Image: MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
-Credit: (Image: MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Tomorrow marks six months since Pascal Struijk was last seen in Leeds United colours, but the defender is finally making progress ahead of next week’s pre-season start. The 24-year-old went under the knife in March after a persistent groin injury failed to heal sufficiently over three months.

That decision ended Struijk’s season early and set the timer running on his return for pre-season. Struijk was a mainstay under Daniel Farke in the first half of the season and wore the captain’s armband in the absence of Liam Cooper and Luke Ayling.

As a player of such importance, he will feel like the proverbial new signing when pre-season begins next week. Struijk’s presence will give everyone a huge lift after more than six months on the sidelines since that penalty he signed off with at Deepdale on Boxing Day.

Pascal Struijk's Instagram story on June 25, 2024
Pascal Struijk's Instagram story on June 25, 2024 -Credit:pascalstruijk / Instagram

Ahead of next week’s scheduled return to Thorp Arch, Struijk has joined the legion of players posting their summer fitness routines on Instagram. While Archie Gray, Joe Gelhardt and Charlie Cresswell have been among the pros working in Dubai, Struijk’s gone with a simple trackside picture.

Sat down at an athletics track, Struijk’s taken a picture of his running shoes and included a running emoji in 26C heat. The Dutchman will be very keen to make a good early impression this summer after so long out.

With Joe Rodon back at Tottenham Hotspur and Liam Cooper into the final week of his Leeds contract, Struijk, Cresswell and Ethan Ampadu represent Farke’s primary centre-back options. It remains to be seen what part Diego Llorente or Max Wober play in pre-season for the Whites.