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Leeds United Midfielder Told To Stay Put For Now: What Should Be Bielsa’s Play Here?

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Abhinab Ghosh
A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.

In a recent interview with This is Futbol, Carlton Palmer urged Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips to stay put for now. The ex-Leeds player said,

“If I was him, he’s under contract and there’s no real panic. Ok we’re just about to turn the corner in a couple of months to 2022 but he’s still under contract for another two years.

“So, obviously Leeds would like to tie him down as soon as possible but from a player’s point of view, I wouldn’t be rushing because the contract he signs now, A, it’s got to be the best contract of his life that sets him and his family up financially and B, it’s got to be right for him career-wise, in terms of the way Leeds United are going forward. So, if I was advising him, at this moment in time, I would be saying, let’s assess it come the end of the season.”

Phillips’ Good Form At Elland Road This Season

The 25-year-old has made a decent start to this campaign as he has already produced some solid displays at the centre of Marcelo Bielsa’s midfield. The England international has found the back of the net once and registered one assist for the Yorkshire giants this season across various competitions.

The Leeds-born midfield ace has anchored the midfield really well based on his average of 2.4 tackles, 1.0 interceptions, 0.8 clearances, 0.9 shots and 0.8 key passes per game in the Premier League. He has even been accurate when distributing the ball from midfield after he made 83.1% of his attempted passes in the English top tier (stats via whoscored).

Leeds United (Kalvin Phillips)
LEEDS, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 07: Kalvin Phillips of Leeds United in action during the Premier League match between Leeds United and Leicester City at Elland Road on November 07, 2021 in Leeds, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
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What Should Be Leeds United Boss Marcelo Bielsa’s Play With Regards To Phillips?

Phillips is a tough-tackling midfielder who can win the ball back for his team at the centre of the park. He doesn’t take too many chances when putting his foot through the ball and can offer good protection for his teammates at the back.

The Three Lions sensation can cut open the opposition defence with a decisive pass in the final third but needs to figure out a way to add more goals and assists to his game in the coming seasons. At the moment, the Whites are under no pressure to sell Phillips as he has still got well over two years remaining in his Leeds United contract.

However, if a top club comes in for him in January or next summer, Bielsa could find it difficult to keep hold of Phillips as the player’s head could get turned. Even then, Leeds United head coach should try everything in his power to keep hold of his prized asset for the long run.

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