Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips has showed great promise and development across a number of seasons at Elland Road, though now the 23-year-old is heading to a new level – looking every bit the complete midfielder.
Having made over 130 appearances for United over a four year period, Phillips is best described as a ‘holding midfielder’, though the homegrown player, who came through the club’s youth ranks, has so much more to his game than just winning possession back and playing the simple ball.
Phillips development has been steady but obvious in the United engine room, and it’s possibly fair to say he is now the key man to make Bielsa’s side tick from deeper positions.
Also able to operate as a central defender when necessary, Phillips passing ability is now formidable, able to switch play, cut through opposition lines and initiate forward movements.
A noticeable improvement in Phillips game is his set-piece deliveries. With the ability to strike from distance himself, the midfield man now whips in some fantastic deliveries from wide areas, be it from corner’s or free kick’s, for his teammates to try and latch onto.
Now looking closer to the finished article, Phillips is also able to cover ground easier and break up attacks using his physicality, while his reading of the game is second to none amongst his Championship peers.
It’s come as no surprise that the Premier League elite have taken notice, with the United man linked with moves to a few clubs in recent times, most notably Tottenham Hotspur who also took (and loaned back) fellow ‘Whites’ youngster Jack Clarke in the summer.
Kalvin Phillips has grown to become a major cog in the Leeds wheel, a reliable yet very talented part of Bielsa’s setup and one of the first names on the Argentine’s team sheet.
There is no doubt he’s ready to move up a level and test himself at Premier League level. Longer-term aims for the 23-year-old may include looking for international recognition – and with Gareth Southgate’s England team perhaps lacking in midfield areas – Phillips has every chance of reaching that level should he perform well in the top flight.
No doubt he would love to play at the highest level with his boyhood club – and Leeds are undoubtedly in the promotion mix this season – but if a move is required to fulfil his goals, then Phillips will surely be open to the idea sooner or later.