Robin Koch relishing Junior Firpo's second Leeds United initiation after missing first

Robin Koch missed Junior Firpo's first Leeds United initiation so can't wait for his second.

Friday, 13th August 2021, 11:40 am
FULLY INITIATED - By the end of Leeds United's game at Manchester United Junior Firpo will have a much fuller understanding of what it means to be Leeds. Pic: Bruce Rollinson.

The most talked about rite of passage at Thorp Arch is a player's first murderball session. It is, as so many have gone on record to admit, a gruelling challenge but it is one to be embraced, because it is a big part of life at Leeds.

Murderball sessions happen at least once a week throughout the season and act as a proving ground for match fitness and form.

Veterans like to see their new team-mates' response to it, as evidenced by the sheer glee in Mateusz Klich last summer ahead of Koch's first rodeo.

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A year on, Koch is the battle hardened veteran but he missed out on the chance to see recent signing Firpo's first effort.

"I wasn't at his first murderball because I had just come back from a few days holiday, because of the Euros," he said.

"I wasn't here for his first but I know for myself after last year it is really hard, especially for the first time so I can imagine how he felt in this moment and he said it was really, really hard.

"For every player I think it is the same but he will adapt really fast and get used to murderball and the training sessions and the style of play, so I think that is no problem."

Firpo, along with fellow new recruit Kristoffer Klaesson, have settled into the rhythm of Leeds life quickly according to Koch, helped by a welcome the German international himself received not such a long time ago.

"First of all they are really good guys," he said.

"They really fit into our team. I think it's not very hard for a new player to come into our team because everyone works really good with the other team mates and we welcome every player really fast.

"I can say for both therefore that they are really good and in training they have settled in straight away with the team and their new team mates which is the most important thing for new players."

But there is yet one other challenge Firpo must endure before being able to call himself a fully fledged Leeds United player.

"Yes, we have to sing when you come into the team," said Koch, who gave a rendition of a German song by a rapper from his native land.

"I'm not quite sure if Junior already performed his song - I think he has to do it now before his first game so I'm looking forward to his performance."

Once that is out of the way, Firpo can concentrate on the other performance this weekend, at Old Trafford against Manchester United tomorrow.

Marcelo Bielsa says the left-back is available again after a minor knock and if he plays it will be another eye-opening first, given the rivalry and the atmosphere the game will be played in.

Whether he gets onto the pitch or not, by midafternoon Firpo's repertoire of songs will have been expanded by the 3,000 travelling Whites and he will know a lot more about what it means to be Leeds.