Jesse Marsch admits ‘strangeness’ surrounding Leeds United schedule

Leeds United manager Jesse Marsch is conscious of the effect that looming Qatar 2022 World Cup selection will have on his players.

Friday, 5th August 2022, 6:00 am

The need to host the major tournament in winter, midway through the season, means top flight teams are set for a Premier League campaign like no other.

Starting one week earlier than normal, the Premier League will then break mid-November until games recommence with the traditional Boxing Day fixtures at the end of December.

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The hiatus, necessitated by the prohibitive summer temperatures in the host country, will affect all teams in the top flight as those gaining momentum before the World Cup will be forced to rediscover their rhythm after the competition’s conclusion.

Qatar 2022 threatens to throw the Premier League out of kilter, as teams like Manchester City – comprised of a number of internationals - will be significantly more vulnerable to fitness issues than those teams with fewer players representing their countries.

Speaking to ESPN ahead of the season opener against Wolves, Leeds manager Jesse Marsch revealed that, while he won't let the prospect of a disrupted winter overtake his focus on the here and now, the World Cup prompts considerations which he can’t ignore.

“Right now, we're so focused on the early stages of the season and for us to have a good start, I think is really, really important,” said Marsch.

YORK, ENGLAND - JULY 07: Jesse Marsch, Manager of Leeds United reacts during the Pre-Season Friendly between Leeds United and Blackpool at LNER Community Stadium on July 07, 2022 in York, England. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)

"It obviously means that some of the players that are in our team are really motivated to have a good start to the season so they can give themselves the best chance to make their their national teams and go to the World Cup."

The American acknowledged that the tournament might have a big hand in the future of Mateusz Klich when he spoke to the media after the Whites’ final pre-season friendly against Cagliari last weekend.

While Klich hopes to represent Poland at the finals, the arrival of midfield trio Brenden Aaronson, Tyler Adams and Marc Roca may significantly dent the playing time available to him which will be so vital to his bid for a place in Czesław Michniewicz’s squad.

With Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s England place threatened by a six-week knee injury, Patrick Bamford is another example of a touch-and-go international whose early season exploits will have a much greater impact on his future career than some of his team-mates’.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - JULY 22: Mateusz Klich of Leeds United acknowledges the crowd after the Pre-Season friendly match between Leeds United and Crystal Palace at Optus Stadium on July 22, 2022 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by James Worsfold/Getty Images)

Marsch, though, insists that the high standards expected by the Elland Road faithful will be a key motivating factor as the Premier League season kicks off.

"But in general, I think our fan base demands the most out of all of us – including myself,” said Marsch.

"They don't accept anything less but full work ethic, full commitment.

"I think we'll address more exactly the strangeness of the season once we get to the November timeframe, and understand what the World Cup would bring.

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - SEPTEMBER 02: Patrick Bamford of England looks on prior to the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier match between Hungary and England at Stadium Puskas Ferenc on September 02, 2021 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

"And then our schedule is incredibly busy after the World Cup starting with a boxing day match against Man City.”