Of all the players who have progressed under Marcelo Bielsa at Leeds, one player stands out above all – Kalvin Phillips.
From just being a promising talent, he has become the midfield dynamite of Leeds, within just 12 months or so. That he was talented was known to all, but the manner in which he progressed, that too in such a short time, is nothing short of a managerial genius from Bielsa.
He is the first name on the team-sheet and has hardly had an off game since Bielsa took charge.
On Saturday, Leeds drew 1-1 against Nottingham Forest at home, and once again Phillips stood out as one of the top performers from the match.
Phillips picked up a yellow card early but what impressed the manager was the maturity shown by the 23-year-old.
“We knew, when we were thinking, the 28 (Silva) and 17 (Alfa Semedo) were unbalanced players. It was a great sign of maturity in Kalvin for him to play most of the match with a yellow card. He never took any risks to leave the pitch,” said Bielsa to Leeds Live.
“The centre-backs and Phillips had a lot of time on the ball when they were playing out from the back and this creates a bigger chance for mistakes. In this game we didn’t see mistakes, but when we did, the team knew how to resolve the situation.”
Phillips made two key passes, made five tackles, and attempted 62 passes with a fantastic 87% accuracy, according to whoscored.com. No wonder why Aston Villa and Wolves were/are so keen to sign him!
Leeds are one of the favourites to secure promotion to the Premier League this season, and they have started the season on a positive note. Philips will have to play a massive role for the Whites if they are to have any chance of making it into the top two of the Championship this season.