Robin Koch “has all of the attributes” to play in Kalvin Phillips’ role and could save Leeds United millions in the future.
That is the view of former Whites striker Noel Whelan, speaking exclusively to Football Insider about the 24-year-old’s performance in the 2-0 loss to Brighton on Saturday.
Koch was handed a rare start in midfield at the Amex Stadium, with Kalvin Phillips ruled out of Marcelo Bielsa’s side with a knee injury.
Football Insider revealed on Monday that the Yorkshire club have made a new defensive midfielder one of their top priorities this summer.
Sporting director Victor Orta is compiling a shortlist of midfield targets with the pedigree to provide cover and competition for Phillips next season.
When asked by Football Insider‘s Dylan Childs if Koch could plug the gap long-term, Whelan said: “I’ve seen enough from Koch to suggest he could play that role long-term.
“Even though he has only played in that position a couple of times you can see that he has the capabilities to do it. I have no doubt about that.
“He was competitive in midfield against Brighton. He was getting on the ball and trying to find space.
“I felt sorry for him though because it is difficult to gage whether he can play in that role long-term when everyone else is playing below par. I cannot be 100 per cent confident that he can understudy for Phillips on that performance because everyone around him was a six out of 10 and some of them not even that.
“Could Koch step into an international’s role? The signs are encouraging. I think he has all of the attributes.”