After Kalvin Phillips was ruled out with a minor injury against Brighton, Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa turned to Robin Koch as the man to fill the void in midfield.
A centre-back by trade, the summer signing endured a difficult game in a wholly unfamiliar position, and Leeds Live‘s Beren Cross outlined one of the key problems the German faced, saying that “his passing had nothing like the expanse of Phillips’s, nor the accuracy at critical moments as attacks were threatening to build.”
With reports in recent days claiming that Leeds have made signing a new holding midfielder a priority for the upcoming summer transfer window, some much-needed cover for Phillips is set to arrive. However, for the here and now, rather than turning to Koch, Bielsa must surely now unleash academy starlet Nohan Kenneh.
The Athletic’s Phil Hay dubbed the teenager as “supremely gifted”, and he’s capable of playing in holding midfield as well as further back in central defence. Also, at a imposing 6 foot 2, he seems to have the physical attributes to hold his own at Premier League level.
The 18-year-old has already admitted to modelling himself on Phillips, while he also added that he’s a fan of Arsenal Invincible Patrick Vieira too. He said: “Currently I look up to Kalvin Phillips as (we) both play in a similar position, but I occasionally watch videos of Patrick Vieira for his qualities in midfield.”
Describing himself as someone who is “aggressive and hard-working who likes to break down play”, but also likes “getting forward and scoring long-range goals”, Kenneh seems like he could thrive in the anchor man role if given the chance by Bielsa.
The next step for those batch of players who tasted academy success is to make their mark on the first team, and given the injury problems faced by Phillips last weekend and this season as a whole, Kenneh should be the man to whom Bielsa turns sooner rather than later.