Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips has been rewarded for convincing string of performances with the Football League’s young player of the month award for October.
The 20-year-old collected the trophy on the strength of a run of games which helped Leeds climb into the Championship’s play-off positions a fortnight ago.
Phillips, who joined Leeds as an academy player and made his senior debut in 2015, stepped into the breach after club captain Liam Bridcutt suffered a fracture foot bone in September.
He and Eunan O’Kane struck up a strong partnership in the centre of midfield, although Phillips criticised his own display after struggling to make an impact in a more advanced role during yesterday’s 2-0 defeat to Newcastle United.
Phillips was used at number 10 by head coach Garry Monk in the absence of the injured Pablo Hernandez and he held his hands up to a “disappointing game personally” at full time.
The EFL, however, has acknowledged his first extended run in United’s starting line-up and Phillips, who found appearances hard to come by under Uwe Rosler and Steve Evans last season, said: “I’m really pleased. A lot of credit has to go to the coaching staff and the people who’ve been around me in training.
“It just goes down to hard work. I come in every day and I want to do my best. I think the gaffer has seen that. Playing week in, week out in the Championship is great. I never thought I’d really do that after last season. In the first couple of games I was struggling a bit but the more I play I’ll get better and better.”
Phillips is the third Leeds academy product to win the monthly prize in as many years, following on from Sam Byram and Alex Mowatt who received it in 2013 and 2014 respectively.
Former Leeds defender David Wetherall, the EFL’s director of youth development, said: “Kalvin has had an excellent month with his form playing a major part in the good run of the team. He continues the excellent player production record of the Leeds United academy.”