'No problem' - Robin Koch happy to provide solution to Marcelo Bielsa's Leeds United problem

Robin Koch has no problem playing in midfield should Leeds United require him to do so in the long-term.

Friday, 14th May 2021, 3:14 pm
Leeds United defender Robin Koch celebrates at Elland Road. Pic: Getty

The German international has found a place in Marcelo Bielsa's line-up sitting in front of the back four in recent weeks following his return from a knee injury which kept him sidelined for over four months.

Koch was a surprise call-up into the Whites starting eleven at Brighton for the 2-0 defeat at the Amex stadium two weeks ago after Kalvin Phillips was ruled out late on due to injury.

The Yorkshire Pirlo was then named on the bench for the hosting of Tottenham Hotspur at Elland Road with Koch retaining his spot to put in an assured showing in LS11.

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Debate had raged earlier in the campaign for the need to find a backup to Phillips in United's team for when he was absent and unavailable for selection.

The 24-year-old former Freiburg player, though, has quieted those voices after his deployment in the middle now he is back to full fitness.

Koch has made 17 appearances for Leeds throughout his debut campaign and arrived as a versatile defender last summer.

He had previously played as a defensive midfielder in the Bundesliga and for the German national team but does admit he prefers his natural home of central defence, though is happy to help out whenever required.

"Normally my position is centre-back," Koch told BBC Leeds over his newfound position.

"It wasn't completely new to me [playing in defensive midfield]. I played some games there in my old club and even one or two games in the national team.

"I have no problem playing in midfield. Though I do prefer playing centre-back if I am honest."

Before Phillips' injury, Bielsa had explored the Thorp Arch academy product in a more advanced role within games - similarly to how Gareth Southgate opts to play him for England.

Asked whether he thought he could partner his teammate in the middle, Koch added: "You would normally have to ask the gaffer.

"I think, of course, Kalvin is a player who is a little bit more offensive than me. If we wanted to play a more offensive player with a defensive player then I could imagine playing with him in midfield."