Pascal Struijk has revealed what Wayne Rooney told him during Leeds United’s 3-1 win over Derby County two weeks ago.
Leeds were already confirmed as Champions heading into their clash at Pride Park, following West Bromwich Albion’s 2-1 defeat to Huddersfield Town and Brentford’s 1-0 defeat to Stoke City.
Their promotion hangover didn’t have an impact, either, with the Whites coming from behind to beat the Rams by three goals to one, courtesy of Pablo Hernandez, Jamie Shackleton and a Matt Clarke own-goal.
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Struijk started in midfield alongside Ben White after impressing in the 1-0 win over Barnsley a few days before, and produced a strong display at Pride Park.
Struijk was obviously tasked with the job of containing the likes of Louie Sibley and Wayne Rooney, with the latter holding a conversation during the game.
Speaking to Algemeen Dagblad, Struijk said: “I was allowed to play as a controlling midfielder again, so I faced Wayne Rooney.
“Very nice to suddenly play against such greatness. I still had a chat with him during the match, after all, we were already champions.
“Before the game, we got a guard of honour and during the game, Rooney said we really deserved it.
“Many players were on the field with a big hangover, but we still won 1-3 after a delay.”
Leeds will now be preparing to embark on life back in the Premier League, with potential transfer targets now being identified heading into the summer transfer window.
It’s not the first thing Leeds fans would have expected to hear from Rooney about their promotion, but fair play to him.
Leeds have been an utter joy to watch under Marcelo Bielsa, even last season, when Derby knocked them out of the play-off semi-finals in exceptional style.
I think they can take the Premier League by storm and they will surprise a lot of people, I feel.