Brighton v Leeds United - Versatile squad leave Marcelo Bielsa spoilt for choice

A SURE sign of an evolving, progressive and successful team is their players being tactically and technically proficient in several positions, as Marcelo Bielsa would be quick to venture.

Leeds United’s high-energy intense offensive style has been rightly heralded this season. Their defensive acumen and consistency in recent times – aided in no small part by the fitness of Diego Llorente – is also encouragingly coming to the fore.

Players’ adaptability to play in different positions is another added string to the bow of a Leeds side who make the long trip south today on the back of a six-match unbeaten sequence at this level – their longest of the season.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Given the calibre of opposition they have faced in recent weeks, it is all the more praiseworthy.

Strengthening defence: Diego Llorente. Picture: Getty Images

The likes of Stuart Dallas and Gjanni Alioski has shown their flexibility alongside German international Robin Koch, who showcased his credentials in a defensive midfield role in the weekend draw with Manchester United at Elland Road.

Head coach Bielsa said: “What Robin Koch has done previously is show he can play as defensive midfielder and as a centre-back. He is an excellent option in whichever of those two positions.

“He has already played very well as a centre-back and he can play well as a defensive midfielder also.

“He is being considered for either of those functions.”

Another player capable of operating in several positions and whose game intelligence has been honed expertly under Bielsa is Kalvin Phillips, leading to suggestions that he could operate in a more advanced midfield role – with the likes of Koch and Pascal Struijk providing defensive midfield cover.

For his part, Bielsa has no immediate plans to take a look at the England international in that ‘number eight’ position, but it represents a potential future option, all the same.

“It is an option, but I will take more time to verify,” commented Bielsa.

“For Kalvin, it is easy to play as defensive midfielder or to defend as a centre-back.

“But to play as a mixed midfielder, which means in front of the defensive midfielder but behind the offensive midfielder, is a position which he has already played. He has also done this for the English national team.

“For us, it is also an option, less verified for us because in that position we have Dallas and (Mateusz) Klich, which I have positioned in front of him in this position, but of course he can be an option here.”

Support The Yorkshire Post and become a subscriber today. Your subscription will help us to continue to bring quality news to the people of Yorkshire. In return, you’ll see fewer ads on site, get free access to our app and receive exclusive members-only offers. Click HERE to subscribe.