Kalvin Phillips has missed the last three games for Leeds United and the last two both resulted in 4-1 losses.
Marcelo Bielsa has experimented with different players in the holding midfield role – Mateusz Klich and Pascal Struijk – but neither has pulled the strings the same way Phillips does.
However, the performance of Robin Koch for Germany on Saturday should convince Bielsa that he’s got a readymade replacement at Elland Road.
Germany beat Ukraine 3-1 and Koch starred in the defensive midfield role, with a hugely impressive 94.9% pass accuracy that included 6/8 successful long passes.
He also made four interceptions and won two duels.
Koch’s impressive numbers were listed by LUFCDATA after the game.
Robin Koch vs. Ukraine:
90 mins played
94.9% pass accuracy 🔥
56/59 successful passes
15 final third passes
6/8 successful long passes
6 ball recoveries
4 interceptions 🌟
2 duels won
1 chance created
— LUFCDATA (@LUFCDATA) November 14, 2020
Koch may well have played in the holding midfield role at Leeds already if Diego Llorente hadn’t been injured.
With Liam Cooper out as well for the game against Aston Villa, Koch has been needed in the centre of defence.
However, if Phillips is out for the game against Arsenal on Sunday, we think Koch has to step up and play in the vital defensive midfield position.
Pascal Struijk isn’t ready for the position but he can filling at the centre of defence.
Given how well Koch played, we think he has to replace Phillips if the midfield talisman is out.
MOT Leeds News columnist Paul Robinson claimed that it was a real problem position for Bielsa and that he may have to solve it in the January window.
We think that in Koch there’s a readymade Phillips replacement at Elland Road already. If Koch can do it for Germany, he can do it for Leeds.
In other Leeds United news, Major blow for Leeds as first-team star picks up hamstring injury on international duty – report