Mateusz Klich has declared the ‘very talented’ batch of Leeds United youngsters ready for first team action and hopes they experience Championship football this season.
The Whites midfielder is particularly keen to see his Polish compatriot and namesake Mateusz Bogusz unleashed in senior football.
Still only 17, Bogusz has shown flashes of precocious talent during the summer and there’s an excitement around the club about his potential impact this season.
“I’m sure he’s going to get some minutes this season because he looks great,” said Klich, of the man 12 years his junior.
“He looked very good against Sydney, scored a goal.
“I hope for him he’ll get some minutes, the sooner the better for him.”
Bogusz isn’t alone in impressing Klich and others at Leeds during pre-season.
Boss Marcelo Bielsa said on Friday that Jamie Shackleton was ‘ready’ and managing director Angus Kinnear has revealed that ‘breakthrough seasons’ are also expected for Jack Clarke and Jack Harrison.
Klich sees no reason to hold them back from first team involvement and although he’s willing to help put them in the picture when it comes to the expecation and pressure of playing for Leeds, it’s something they need to experience for themselves.
“We have a lot of young players, they look ready and they want to play so let’s give them a chance and try them, because why not?”
“I can tell them how it is but the best way is for them to play and to get some minutes and get a feeling of their own.
“I can tell them one thing but going out at Elland Road in front of 35,000 people in the Championship is different.
“I just hope they’ll get some minutes and a good experience.
“They’re very young and very talented players.”
Having played every single game last season, Klich is well qualified to talk about the team’s 2019/20 Championship chances, compared with how they fared in the previous campaign.
He’s noticed that players have hit the ground running this summer because they’re now completely au fait with the ways and means of head coach Bielsa.
His demands and expectations have not come as a surprise, in the same way they might have done in 2018.
And the sharpness brought on by an intense regime, the long days and all those double and triple sessions, could lend itself not only to another good start to a season, but to improved fortunes.
“This pre-season was easier for us and we’re in better shape because obviously last season we worked really hard and now we know what we’re going to do and how we’re going to work all season,” said Klich.
“That’s why I say it’s easier because we learned his way of football last season so this pre-season was very quick for us and easier.
“It was very hard, don’t get me wrong, but it was easier to understand.
“It’s easier for us to train, to do things he expects us to do because we know already what to do and how to do it.
“Last season we didn’t know what to expect, this season was easier, we knew we were going to run a lot, do a lot in the gym.
“I think that’s the big improvement, because we didn’t need much time, last season we needed time to learn his way.
“This season it was quick in pre-season and very similar.
“Hopefully we’ll be ready for the season like last year when we started really well.
“We want to do the same again.”
More than once in Friday’s press conference Klich referenced the continuity in personnel that will see Leeds line up with a similar side to last season.
There’s a hope that Bielsa can get more out of them, in the same way he did with the side who finished midtable in 2017/18.
Klich lays the credit for the improvement squarely at the feet of his head coach.
“I think he had a big impact,” said the Pole.
“I think 95 per cent of players had the best season of their lives and he improved every one of us.
“There’s nothing more to say, he improved the whole team.
“Basically the same team two seasons ago was a mid-table team and last season we nearly got the Premier League. I just hope this season is going to be as good or even better.”
And he holds the same hope for improvement when it comes to his personal form.
The 2018/19 version of Klich was the best yet, he says – but he wants more.
“It was a great season,” he said.
“We didn’t finish well but it was the best season of my life.
“I would love to score more goals. Ten goals for me was a good achievement, very good.
“I had some, not problems, but I didn’t play the best football after Christmas, New Year so I hope this season is going to be better.”
He’s feeling fit and fresh ahead of the opener at Bristol City on Sunday, but knows all too well that a long, arduous road lies ahead: “Let’s start with the season and I can tell you (how I feel) after a couple of games because now I feel okay.
“It’s going to be a long season and I played every game last season, it was a big achievement because the Championship is a tough league. Let’s see this season.”