Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa has suggested that it is hard to find a player similar to Kalvin Phillips, but he has options at his disposal who can fill his role.
Philips has played all the three games for Leeds this season, and has turned into an unsung hero for the club. The 22-year-old brings steel in the middle of the park, providing a safety belt for the back four. Bielsa is also impressed with his fantastic passing range.
The Argentine feels that one player who can do a good job in the midfield is Adam Forshaw who joined Leeds from Championship rivals Middlesbrough in the January transfer window.
The 26-year-old, who made 12 appearances for the Whites last season, has been described by Bielsa as a “complete player” but adds that he doesn’t have the physical quality needed to perform the defensive midfield role.
“I think [Mateusz] Klich, [Adam] Forshaw and [Conor] Shaughnessy, with different profiles, they could play as defensive midfielders,” said Bielsa, as quoted by Leeds Live.
“Klich has the capacity to score goals, but he has less predilection for the defensive play than Phillips. Forshaw is a complete player, but he doesn’t have the physical dimension that this position requires.”
Forshaw is currently out injured with an ankle problem, but he revealed to LUTV that he travels with the squad at the request of Bielsa.
“I spoke to the manager when I got injured. I was disappointed and he said that it’s up to me and he’d like me to travel with the team, to the away games too for me to feel involved still.
“It keeps my morale high and it’s been an absolute joy to watch the team in the first few games. It’s entertainment. I’m enjoying being part of it and travelling back on the bus with the lads when they’re buzzing after a win. I’m still close to the team.”
The former Boro player could be absent for around a month, but he remains involved with the team’s success behind the scene. Bielsa has asked him to remain involved with the team, despite his injury.
Forshaw is a utility player and Bielsa can use him anywhere across the midfield. But, it is clear from the Argentine’s comment that he doesn’t fancy him in the defensive midfield role.