Mateusz Klich has told BBC Radio Leeds that he could possibly step in for Kalvin Phillips in Leeds United’s system, but insisted that he would rather be further forward.
Finding a replacement for Phillips when he has been unavailable has been an issue that Marcelo Bielsa is yet to work his magic on.
Pascal Struijk has tended to come in after ending last season in outstanding fashion. But the centre-back’s frailties in the role have been exposed at times.
He seemed to struggle to stamp his authority on Sunday’s game at Arsenal. And that may have left some Leeds fans wondering whether Bielsa needs to make a change in that position if Phillips is missing for Friday’s trip to Wolves.
Klich was asked about how impactful Phillips’s absence has been. And after suggesting that Leeds do not have a direct replacement, the Poland international was asked whether he could be the one to fill in.
“Yeah, possibly I could,” he told BBC Radio Leeds. “But I think it’s better that I stay little higher up the pitch and help there instead of passing the ball and not being allowed to move forward because obviously, as a number four you need to cover your full-backs, you need to cover your centre-halves. You have more defensive responsibilities.
“I’ve been played a couple of games there. But as I said, you just pass the ball and look at what the guys up front are going to do. So I’d rather be those boys who do some stuff up front.”
TBR View: Klich much better further forward
As Klich – who cost £1.5 million – notes, he is not completely unfamiliar with the role. He started in that position for November’s clash with Leicester City at Elland Road.
Unfortunately, it did not prove to be the best night for Klich. Leeds were beaten heavily. And the 30-year-old was unable to have an impact on the game.
It will be interesting to see where Bielsa turns if Phillips is unavailable for Friday. Struijk may well get another chance in the role.
He could perhaps turn to someone like Stuart Dallas, who can play anywhere. But it does appear that some fans are starting to wonder whether Leeds need to get away from trying to replace Phillips when he is not available.
Of course, that would force Bielsa to deviate from a system he has unwavering faith in. But that just helps highlight how important Phillips is to Leeds.