Leeds United failed to hold onto another bright young player coming from their very own academy as Football League Young Player of the Year Lewis Cook put an end to his Leeds United career opting for a move to Premier League side Bournemouth. Even though Lewis Cook leaving Elland Road was always expected with the kind of displays he came up with last season when each and every player around him was wasteful, we all expected it to be a better club than Bournemouth.
Garry Monk, after his appointment as the Leeds manager, probably started his work of making the team around the 19-year-old but after the major hammer-blow with Cook’s departure, the former Swansea boss needs to come up with alternatives. Fans will obviously like the idea of spending the cash the Whites earned from Cook’s sale but longer the club are not doing so, the more they will be forced to consider the options already at their disposal.
One possible solution is giving youngster Kalvin Phillips an opportunity to shine and establish himself as the perfect replacement of his compatriot. The 20-year-old has been a fringe player at Elland Road for the last two years and now could be his chance to make a name for himself.
Phillips’ brilliant run of form for the Leeds United under-21 side earned him his first team debut in the closing stages of the 2014-15 season when Lewis Cook suffered an injury. The impact of the young midfielder was immediate as he made his name on the scoresheet in his second game for the Yorkshire club.
Despite such a strong start to his career, the 20-year-old was a largely forgotten name last time around. The Whites turned to loanees Tom Adeyemi and Liam Bridcutt instead of believing in their own academy graduate who kept on impressing for the under-21 side or just languished on the bench.
Phillips now has the opportunity to impress the new manager that he deserves a step up to the first team on more of a regular basis now and the pre-season could be vital for his career. Phillips will certainly be well-aware of the fact that another season out of the first team picture could see him fail to make the grade at Leeds, and he cannot afford a wasted year.
Phillips is somewhat similar to Lewis Cook in terms of style of play. Both comes with the similar aggressiveness and work ethics while Phillips’ under-21 displays suggest that he has an eye for a spectacular goal as well. A strong midfielder, Phillips is a tireless runner and his industry and loanee Grimes’ creativity would complement each other very well in the middle of the park.
With the faith of the manager in him and a good run of games, Phillips could finally kickstart his Leeds career and in the process, he could make the fans forget about the departure of Lewis Cook. Maybe some wishful thinking from me but I think this can be a genuine option for the Whites next season.
This article is written by Craig Kester.