Leeds United have suffered a massive injury blow with Kalvin Phillips expected to remain on the sidelines for up to six weeks.
Phillips suffered a shoulder injury during Leeds’ 1-0 defeat against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Monday night at Elland Road.
The England midfielder took to social networking site Twitter to confirm that he could be out for a few weeks, but he won’t be needing surgery.
Luckily I won’t be needing surgery and have already started my rehab so looking forward to getting back on the pitch as soon as possible. 💪🏽🤍
— Kalvin Phillips (@Kalvinphillips) October 20, 2020
The 24-year-old has progressed immensely under Marcelo Bielsa in recent years, and his injury is a massive setback for the club.
Phillips has been ever-present for Leeds this season, but he could be out till December.
It means, he is likely to miss some crucial games for the Yorkshire club in the coming weeks – the lay-off could rule him out against Aston Villa, Leicester, Crystal Palace, Arsenal and Everton.
How would Leeds cope without him?
Phillips is a top-quality defensive midfielder and he does a specialised job that is hard to replicate.
He sits deep, does the dirty defensive job, breaks up play, and sprinkles out passes – put it simply, one needs to watch Phillips alone to understand how Leeds operate under Bielsa.
In his absence, Bielsa is likely to deploy Mateusz Klich in a deeper role, although it won’t be a like-for-like replacement. Klich has previously played as a defensive midfielder for Leeds and has done really well.
He played four games in the Championship last season in the defensive midfield role. Leeds recorded three wins and a draw during that period.
would make the most sense I think
— Phil Hay (@PhilHay_) October 20, 2020
Phillip’s injury could also open up the opportunity of a starting place for Jamie Shackleton who has always impressed when called upon.
Shackleton has got good technical abilities and he is good at pressing. He can play as a right-back, but he has impressed previously while operating as a deep-lying playmaker.
Last season, Ben White played in defensive midfield as well, which means Bielsa could trust either of Robin Koch or Pascal Struijk for that role.