West Brom forward Jonathan Leko has reflected positively on his season-ending anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury and hinted at his desire to be back playing soon with the Baggies.
The 21-year-old was speaking to Sky Sports about the ACL injury he suffered just before Christmas while on loan at Charlton, believing that he has become stronger from such adversity, adding that Albion manager Slaven Bilic has shown his support.
Leko said: “I don’t think it’s impacted me. I think I’ve dealt with it OK and I’m happy and trying to get fit for next season. I feel I’m mentally stronger than I’ve ever been. Especially with the injury, I feel like I can get through stuff a lot more easily.”
He added: “Slaven Bilic has been really supportive. He’s been asking about my injury and how I’m doing. I’m now just fully focused on the future. Getting back fit and getting ready for next season.”
Leko had been making a strong impact at Charlton prior to his ACL setback, starting regularly under Lee Bowyer and helping himself to five goals and four assists in 21 games for the Addicks. He had been in a rich vein of form shortly before his injury, scoring in three consecutive matches in late November. [via TransferMarkt]
His spell at The Valley enabled the young attacker to obtain the regular game-time that had eluded him at his parent club – he played just two fewer matches for Charlton than he has managed for West Brom’s first team since making his debut back in September 2015.
While Leko hasn’t been able to continue his recuperation at the Baggies’ training ground, which had been closed amid the coronavirus pandemic, he told Sky Sports that his injury recovery is “ahead of schedule”, while the stoppage of the football season in March has meant that he hasn’t missed as much action as he may have feared at the time that he incurred the ACL injury.
Leko’s spell at Charlton had done him the world of good until his injury, while his revelation that Bilic has been checking in on him hints that the manager considers him as part of his plans.
Once the 21-year-old recovers full fitness, though, he could still have a difficult job trying to establish himself in West Brom’s first XI given the prolific attackers already at the club. The youngster may have impressed at centre-forward at The Valley but, at his parent club, he has competition for that role in the form of Hal Robson-Kanu and Charlie Austin, scorers of 19 goals between them this season.
Can you see Jonathan Leko establishing himself at West Brom?
Leko can also play on the right flank but Bilic’s options in that area have also been in fine form, with Matt Phillips and Matheus Pereira helping himself to a combined tally of 14 goals. Therefore, the 21-year-old faces another stern challenge to break into Albion’s first XI once he eventually comes out the right side of his injury anguish.
West Brom fans, do you think Leko could have a part to play for the Baggies next season? Comment below with your views!
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