Noel Whelan has told BBC Radio Leeds (broadcast on 19/9; 17:07) that he thought that Robin Koch actually did very well during Leeds United’s dramatic 4-3 win at Elland Road on Saturday.
The Whites have their first three points on the board following promotion. But they secured the win the hard way as Fulham scored twice after going 4-1 down.
It proved to be another eventful afternoon for Koch. The German gave away a penalty on the opening day, and committed a foul inside the box against Scott Parker’s side.
Koch fouled Joe Bryan. The 24-year-old did attempt to avoid the Fulham man, but was unable to halt his momentum and still managed to trip the left-back.
It was a needless challenge. And with Fulham ultimately scoring three times, some fans may be reserving judgement on their summer signing for a little longer.
However, Whelan insisted that Koch will improve. And he suggested that his overall performance went a long way to making up for the first-half error.
“He’s up to it, there’s no doubt about that. He’ll get better and better. It takes a bit of time for people to settle into a new country, a new style of play, a new manager, a new group of players. And he’s a young lad,” he told BBC Radio Leeds.
“This is the first time he’s played alongside Cooper. He’ll learn a lot from that. He’ll know what it’s all about. He’ll know that he shouldn’t have slid in like that and gone to ground and committed himself.
“But, despite all that, I thought in 90 minutes, he actually did pretty well up against Mitrovic.”
TBR View: Promising signs from Koch cannot be overlooked
In fairness to Koch, he was desperately unlucky to give away a penalty against Liverpool. Admittedly, it was a poor decision to foul Bryan, but he did improve as the game went on.
He looked confident on the ball once again. And it should not be forgotten that he has not had a full pre-season to settle in. And as Whelan notes, he has played alongside a different centre-back in both of his appearances.
It would be wrong to suggest that Koch does not need to improve. But there were definitely some promising signs.