Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa has confirmed that long-term absentee Robin Koch has returned from injury and is ready to make his comeback to Premier League action.
Speaking ahead of Leeds’ clash against Chelsea on Saturday afternoon, Bielsa confirmed: “Jamie Shackleton is available now, Robin Koch also, Gaetano Berardi also. The players not available are Pablo Hernandez, Adam Forshaw and Pascal Struijk.”
Since then, the likes of Struijk and Luke Ayling have had to do jobs at centre-back given the injury problems suffered by the likes of Liam Cooper and Diego Llorente as well, so it really has been a makeshift back-line for the Whites for a large part of this campaign.
Vincenzo Grifo, Koch’s former teammate at Freiburg, waxed lyrical about his ability to The Athletic, saying: “He’s very vocal at the back and he loves to have the game in front of him. He’s an outstanding organiser. His improvement is incredibly rapid, including in the national team, and he’s on a path to become a world-class player, a monster centre-back.”
Former Whites defender Tony Dorigo dubbed him the “rock” in Leeds’ central defence earlier in the season, and so it must have been seriously frustrating for Bielsa to be without one of his key personnel for so long.
His return to fitness will undoubtedly have Bielsa buzzing, and whether it’s coming on for one of Cooper or Llorente, or being a part of a back three, the added option will be music to the ears of the Leeds manager.