Playing in behind Robert Lewandowski will have been far from the mind of Mateusz Klich in pre-season. He was partnered with youngsters and players who weren’t really in the pans at Leeds United as he travelled to York City and Guiseley, but now he’s bossing more than the international scene.
Klich is without doubt the story of the season so far at Leeds United. A player who has gone from training with the under 23’s to pushing Samu Saiz out of the team in the number ten role. Klich and Saiz are totally different types of players but both bring something very important to the side. Saiz is creative and thinks on the spot, tricks and spins are his thing and Mateusz Klich is drilled and likes to head for pockets where nobody wants to go with him. This is what Thomas Muller described himself as, a space invader.
The description became famous and it came around a time that Bayern Munich were beginning to dominate on a few stages and at national level he was helping Germany do the same. He described himself as a space invader when asked what his actual position was. Was he a winger, a number ten or a striker? Nobody really knew and the revelation that he thought as himself an invader of space got many footballing minds thinking. He wasn’t a number ten, or he didn’t see it that way. Back to Mateusz Klich.
Klich is very different in style, and obviously ability but the logic is the same. Klich runs into areas that nobody wants him to go. The defenders expect a midfielder to track him and the midfield think the defence should take over, nobody really goes or if someone does it leaves a gaping hole. Pablo Hernandez scored a goal from exactly this on Sunday. Barry Douglas slipped a beautiful ball into Klich who had headed into a random pocket of space. Nobody tracked him and he had all the time he wanted to turn and pick Hernandez out.
Resilience, a fantastic attitude and intelligence. Mateusz Klich, a Leeds United midfielder reborn.