Klich axed, 21-yr-old to start - Exclusive: Whelan predicts Leeds XI v Leicester
Noel Whelan has tipped Marcelo Bielsa to snub Mateusz Klich from the Leeds United starting XI against Leicester City on Sunday.
The former Leeds striker and lifelong fan at Elland Road, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, admitted it was the right call to leave the 30-year-old out against Newcastle United in midweek and suggested he deserved to remain as a substitute this weekend.
Bielsa dropped the Poland international to bring Kalvin Phillips back into the starting XI for the 2-1 win over the Magpies, although he did feature for 34 minutes off the bench.
It was only the second time Klich had not featured in a starting XI in a league game under the Argentine boss, with the other game the win over Cardiff following confirmation of Leeds’ promotion back to the Premier League.
Having seen Pascal Struijk replace the injured Diego Llorente early on against Newcastle, Whelan believes Bielsa will bring the 21-year-old back into the starting XI as his only change.
Asked if he expected Klich to return against Leicester, Whelan told Football Insider: “I think Mateusz Klich has been a little bit quiet, just kind of drifting through games in the past month, at minimum, and not really contributing the way we expect him to.
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“He’s been ever-present under Marcelo Bielsa but I think it’s the right thing to do, which is just dropping him back and maybe giving him a little bit of a rest and I think Dallas added that little bit more energy and forward-thinking.
“It’s a difficult one (v Leicester). Obviously with the injury, I think it might be a like-for-like. I think Struijk will come back in and I very much doubt he’ll change the side otherwise, I’d be very surprised.
“I think Dallas did enough to keep his place so I don’t think Mateusz Klich will start the game, I think he’ll remain on the bench.
We know what Marcelo Bielsa is like, he won’t make too many changes to a winning side. I don’t see any changes bar the one for Llorente and Struijk coming in.”