Perhaps the only negative – on the pitch – from Leeds United’s 5-0 win over West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday night was Mateusz Klich being forced off the field of play just before the hour mark with an injury. Marcelo Bielsa confirmed after the match that the Poland midfielder has suffered a thigh injury – though it is too early to tell if he will be missing against Tottenham.
Klich, 30, has an incredible engine. Since coming into the Leeds side and scoring in Bielsa’s first game against Stoke City in August 2018 – Leeds have since played 108 league games, 92 in the Championship and 16 in the Premier League. Of those 108 league games, Klich has started 107 – the only one he missed was against Derby last season, with Leeds having already gained promotion.
An inredible stat, then, for a player that has starred for Leeds – when his future was almost over at Elland Road. Before Bielsa came in, he had gone on loan to FC Utrecht in the Netherlands. The Pole has 123 games in Leeds colours, having a hand in 38 goals from midfield – but it is needless to say that Klich probably needs and certainly deserves a rest.
He has avoided injury for the past two and a bit seasons, and the knock to his thigh – if it rules him out of this weekend’s match against Tottenham – would be a blow for Leeds. But could it prove to be a blessing in disguise?
Certainly, it could help Leeds for two reasons. Firstly, Klich has been in and out of form this season. While he has scored two and created five more, his recent performances have been ineffective – perhaps explaining why Bielsa has substituted the former Wolfsburg man in recent matches. The second reason is that of Jamie Shackleton.
The Leeds academy product is probably the best up-and-coming talent in the Leeds side right now that has come though Thorp Arch – with Pascal Struijk having joined from Ajax. Injury has hampered his progress this season but he has came on to make impressive substitute appearances recently, and did so when replacing Klich. If Klich is injured, it would allow Shackleton to get some well-deserved game time.
Losing Klich is a blow, but there are two silver linings if he is sidelined wit a knock.