Harvey Elliott has labelled the decision to reject Leeds United’s appeal to have Pascal Struijk’s three-match suspension shortened as ‘wrong’. Strujik has received a three-match ban for a challenge that left Elliott with a dislocated ankle.
The 22-year-old was sent off against the Reds for a second-half challenge which forced Elliott to leave the field on a stretcher – although referee Craig Pawson initially failed to award a foul for the tackle.
The severity of Elliott’s injury saw Pawson then brandish a red card, which Leeds appealed against, hoping to overturn the suspension. However, Struijk’s appeal has been rejected, meaning he’ll be banned for the Whites’ next three fixtures.
In response to the FA’s decision, Elliott took to Instagram to say the following: “Sorry about this Pascal. I think it’s wrong! But it’ll soon blow over brother and you’ll be back in no time smashing it again – keep positive.”
Struijk’s challenge has caused plenty of conversation over the laws of the game, with many feeling the punishment was unfair on the defender, while others believe the dismissal was right, given the damage inflicted on the Liverpool star.
Elliott has since undergone surgery on the dislocated ankle, while Struijk admitted he was ‘gutted’ by the incident, and took the time to apologise to the teenager.
“In today’s game, something happened that I would never wish on anyone! @harveyelliott07, my thoughts are with you. I’m gutted and never meant for this to happen. I wish you a speedy recovery and hope to see you back on the pitch soon.”
Elliott then responded, claiming that the dismissal was unfair, and that it was all just a ‘freak accident.’
“Wasn’t his fault whatsoever! Neither was it a red card, just a freak accident, but these things happen in football. I’ll be back stronger 100%. Thanks for all the support.”
The Belgian defender will miss Leeds’ two Premier League clashes against Newcastle United and West Ham United, as well as their Carabao Cup tie with Fulham, leaving Marcelo Bielsa incredibly short of defensive options.
The Argentinian boss is already managing a stretched squad, with injuries to Diego Llorente and Robin Koch leaving Struijk and Liam Cooper as his only fit senior centre-backs. Struijk’s suspension means Cooper is Bielsa’s sole central defender, which will force the coach to get creative in his solutions.
Right-back Luke Ayling is likely to move into the centre-back position, causing Leeds to play with a makeshift backline for some crucial fixtures following a difficult start to the new Premier League campaign.