Marcelo Bielsa explains Matuesz Bogusz' surprise Leeds United squad inclusion at Swansea

Mateusz Bogusz was a surprise inclusion in Leeds United’s squad in Wales at the weekend – but he was there on merit.

Tuesday, 14th July 2020, 5:45 am
PROSPECT - Mateusz Bogusz was back in the Leeds United first team squad at Swansea on Sunday. Pic: Getty

Marcelo Bielsa is not prone to handing out squad places to young players without having seen something in training or in Under-23s fixtures to warrant the promotion.

And the way he structures his substitutes bench means each player is considered an important option for a position on the field.

Even with the larger bench since the restart, Bielsa continues to see his replacements as players who could come on and contribute, they aren’t just there to make up numbers.

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The talent possessed by Bogusz, 18, has been talked up by fellow Pole Mateusz Klich on a number of occasions.

The senior Polish international has predicted that his Under-21 capped Leeds team-mate will probably become a better player than he is.

For Carlos Corberan's Under 23 side he has showcased an engine like the one possessed by Klich and some of the craft that makes Pablo Hernandez so dangerous for Leeds. He's fond of shooting from distance and very forward thinking, like Gjanni Alioski.

Since his January 2019 arrival he has been a stalwart for the 23s and played a big part in their PDL title win.

He was expected to play some part for the first team this season, after selection for the pre-season tour in Australia, where he scored against Western Sydney Wanderers.

Yet Bogusz has made just one senior appearance for Leeds, in the Carabao Cup last August, and hadn’t been named among the substitutes since November’s trip to QPR, before popping up unexpectedly in the first-team squad on Sunday at Swansea.

Bielsa says the teenager is developing and his attacking ability was what prompted the matchday inclusion.

“He is growing in training, he is an offensive playmaker and I thought of him as an option for the match,” said Bielsa. “He is more offensive than [Jamie] Shackleton and [Robbie] Gotts and, for this reason, I considered him as an option in case we needed him.”

Bogusz wasn’t called upon during a tight match that Leeds won in the 89th minute thanks to a Pablo Hernandez goal.

But even being part of the head coach’s thinking in the most important period of Leeds’ Championship promotion push – which could come to fruition this week – should come as a boost for an attacker who has done well for the Under-23 side but admitted to frustration at not yet making the step up.

Leeds currently have a crop of young midfielders knocking on the door of the first team, including the aforementioned Shackleton, Gotts and Northern Ireland’s Alfie McCalmont.