By Alex McLeish

11th Dec, 2020 | 6:00pm

'He's one of their best' - Exclusive: McLeish reacts as Leeds ever-present ruled out tonight

Alex McLeish has admitted he is worried about the Leeds United defence after Robin Koch was ruled out for up to three months.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Connor Whitley, the former Scotland manager claimed the German international has been one of the Whites’ best players this season.

Koch had been an ever-present for Marcelo Bielsa’s side in the Premier League before being forced off after just eight minutes against Chelsea last weekend.

The club confirmed during the week that the 24-year-old will miss up to three months of action after undergoing knee surgery.

His replacement at Stamford Bridge, Diego Llorente also faces up to three weeks on the sidelines leaving Bielsa down to the bare bones in defence.

Full-back Luke Ayling and versatile midfielders Pascal Struijk and Kalvin Phillips are all options for who could partner captain Liam Cooper.

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Asked by Football Insider whether he was worried about Leeds’ backline without Koch, McLeish said: “Yes, especially because I don’t think their defence is the strongest defence even with Koch.

“You can see their fighting like never before to keep the clean sheets and you saw that against Chelsea when they were overrun and overpowered with the speed and intelligence of the Chelsea team.

“So to lose one of your best guys, when you’re losing goals and giving team’s chances, then you can afford to lose that is so important to the spine of the team.”

Koch moved to Elland Road for a reported £13million fee from Bundesliga side Freiburg in August.

In his 11 games for the Whites he has helped the team record four clean sheets.

In other Leeds United news, an heir to Pablo Hernandez has been tipped to join in January amid a critical 24 hours.