Robin Koch says “we’ll go down together” and has vowed to play for Leeds United in the Championship if they are relegated this season.
Koch has been a mainstay for Leeds in the defensive midfield role with Kalvin Phillips sidelined. He missed 16 league matches in the first half of the season due to injury and illness, but he has made 10 Premier League starts since.
In fact, barring Saturday’s win over Norwich in which he was a second-half sub, Koch has started all but on league game. He missed the defeat at Liverpool through concussion.
Koch has proved to be a key member of the Elland Road squad after arriving from Freiburg in August 2020.
The 25-year-old penned a four-year deal and he’s prepared to see out another year of that in the second tier should the unthinkable happen.
Not that Koch is thinking about relegation. He says the club are focused on survival under new boss Jesse Marsch and he believes they will stay up.
Leeds are currently 16th with 26 points from 29 matches, having registered their first win under Marsch last weekend. The Whites are four points ahead of 17th-placed Everton, who have three games in hand, and 18th-placed Watford.
“We have enough quality in the team. We fit together perfectly and we stand together as a team,” Koch told Sky Deutschland, via Sport Witness.
“I am confident we will make it despite the difficult remaining fixtures. We’re not going down. I’m pretty sure we’ll stay in there with this team.”
Asked about his contract being valid in the second tier, he said: “Yes.”
Pressed on whether Koch plans to walk away of Leeds are relegated, he added: “We’re not going down. And if so, then I believe that the team will stand together. We agree that we’ll go down together then.”
Phillips and Cooper to return
Meanwhile, Phillips and skipper Liam Cooper are back in contention for Friday night’s game at Wolves.
Phillips and Cooper have both missed Leeds’ last 14 league games and Marsch said: “It’s a big boost for them personally, but also for the presence they have in our team.
“It’s a big positive momentum swing for our group. They’re both quality players and great personalities and will make us stronger and stronger.
“Even when I first came I knew getting the three main guys back to full health was going to really dictate our success.
“We have a good group, but you need your best players on the pitch.
“We’ll see what the plan will be for their minutes (at Wolves), but just having them back in training is big.”