Ben Parker has admitted to LS11 that he did not expect Mateusz Klich to be able to replace Kalvin Phillips, but insisted that he was absolutely superb in Leeds United’s 3-0 win over Aston Villa on Friday.
The trip to Villa Park was Leeds’s first game without Phillips this term after the England international sustained a shoulder injury.
It was, of course, Pascal Struijk who started the game in Phillips’s place. But Struijk was taken off early on in the first-half after being booked and subsequently committing another foul.
He was replaced by Jamie Shackleton. And that saw Klich drop deeper to try and help protect the defence.
Leeds are not used to seeing the Pole feature in that role. But he arguably looked as comfortable as he does whenever he plays as an eight in Marcelo Bielsa’s system.
And Parker was hugely impressed by the 30-year-old’s display as he conceded that he did not expect him to be so good as a potential replacement for Phillips.
“You wouldn’t think Klich could do the Kalvin-type role, but I just thought his performance was absolutely superb,” he told LS11.
“Second-half, he broke things up, even broke forward, got an assist. Everyone across the board was superb.”
Like many of his teammates, Klich has been a revelation in the Premier League. It is remarkable to think that he cost just £1.5 million (via Yorkshire Evening Post).
He has proved his doubters wrong on a number of occasions already. He was written off during Thomas Christiansen’s tenure. And he maintained his stunning form for the entire campaign after returning to the fold following Bielsa’s appointment.
So it should come as no surprise that he has now established himself as a genuine contender to step in for however long Phillips is out for.