Energetic Leeds United star Phillips thriving as Bielsa's go-to man

KALVIN PHILLIPS hopes appearances continue to come thick and fast for Leeds United with the busy midfielder thriving on being an integral part of head coach Marcelo Bielsa's plans.

Thursday, 30th August 2018, 11:49 am
Updated Thursday, 30th August 2018, 11:56 am
EVER PRESENT: Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips.

Phillips is the only player to have started all seven of United's fixtures in league and cup so far this term with the midfielder-cum-centre back one of few first teamers also called into starting on Carabao Cup duty.

Phillips is now in line to start his eighth game in 27 days with Friday night's Championship clash against Middlesbrough at Elland Road but the industrious Whites star says his youthful years leave him well-placed to be Bielsa's go to man.

The 22-year-old hit a slight bump in the road in the recent 2-2 draw at Swansea City in which Phillips was substituted after 28 minutes after being dispossessed for the home side's opening goal and also being yellow carded.

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Phillips, though, took the setback on the chin and returned to the Whites XI for last Saturday's 3-0 win at Norwich City - three days days before also starting in the Carabao Cup tie with Preston North End - and the midfielder is taking the busy schedule in his stride.

"I'm 22 and I'm full of energy," said Phillips.

"I'm just happy to be pulling on a white shirt every week and hopefully I can do that for the rest of the season.

"Obviously with the performance at Swansea, I was a bit gutted to come off but I think I kind of took it on the chin and the reaction at Norwich proved that I was ready to be there and be a massive part of the team. The manager said that to me and I am just happy that I am doing the job for the team."

Having previously been deployed as far forward as a no 10, Phillips has been used as a holding midfielder by Bielsa and even as a centre-back - a position the former Wortley Juniors star was switched to during the second half of Tuesday night's 2-0 loss at home to Preston in the Carabao Cup.

Bielsa has already spoken glowingly about Phillips, declaring: "It’s hard to find another player who can do the same job at Phillips."

Asked about the impact of Bielsa on his own game personally, Phillips reasoned: "Obviously I was playing a different position last year to what I am this year and I think it suits me really well.

"I have been playing centre half as well so I think it just kind of gets me used to playing different positions and being aware of people around me and my position and stuff like that so it's good.

"Obviously you know Marcelo's reputation is massive and you can tell that throughout training.

"He is always trying to help you and I think he won't take anything less than 100 per cent and that's what I am trying to do.

"I think he has improved my game quite a lot."