MOT View: Leeds 29y/o proved he can shine in PL in C'ship match Whites didn't even win
If Leeds United can seal promotion to the Premier League this season then there is bound to be a lot of discussion about what players have the quality to make the step up from the Championship.
One player who many fans are bound to talk about is midfielder Mateusz Klich, who will celebrate his 30th birthday in June and has never played in the top-flight of English football.
While it is not a pre-requisite to shine in the Premier League, having some experience in that league is going to be beneficial for players like Pablo Hernandez, Helder Costa and Patrick Bamford as Marcelo Bielsa makes his decisions on incomings and outgoings.
Klich, 29, has started every Championship fixture when Bielsa has been in charge of the Whites so is likely to be used by the Argentine in the Premier League – if the Yorkshire giants get there.
And we don’t think there should be any doubt about whether the Poland international can shine in the Premier League based on his performance against West Brom in January.
Leeds United had to settle for a point when they played against West Brom at The Hawthorns on New Years Day but that point was enough to prove that Klich has the ability to make the step up.
Slaven Bilic’s side are as close to a Premier League team that Leeds can face in the Championship with the Baggies pretty much matching the Whites all season long.
And Klich was able to stand out against them in the winter with a top midfield display that showed when he has to, he is able to put in a really gritty midfield shift against superior technical players.
According to stats by WyScout, Klich’s pass success rate was down on his season average but the Polish ace won 61 per cent of duels – his season average is 47.5 – and completed a huge seven interceptions when his average per 90 minutes in the league this term is only 2.01.
Klich also made a whopping 14 recoveries against West Brom with 10 of them being in the home side’s half. To show how impressive that is, his season average is 5.79 recoveries per 90 minutes.
It was, without doubt, one of the best defensive displays Klich has had in the midfield – but did Bielsa do much to change the Pole’s role?
His heatmap shows that Klich, surprisingly, played a very advanced role against the Baggies.
Klich is a very energetic midfielder who gets himself around the pitch and that was no different on New Years Day with him enjoying most of his touches on the edge of the West Brom penalty area.
It just shows how willing Klich is to close down opposition players, break up counter-attacks, read the play and then drive forward himself as against West Brom, Klich completed three of the five dribbles he attempted when usually he attempts 1.53 per 90 minutes.
Looking back, it is hard to imagine how Thomas Christiansen saw nothing in Klich when he is arguably one of the most important players for Bielsa.
If Leeds can get there, we reckon he can be a real force to be reckoned with in the Premier League.
In other Leeds United news, the Whites have been dealt a killer blow over signing this defender.