'He's at a big level' - Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa makes Kalvin Phillips comparison after impressive summer

Marcelo Bielsa believes Kalvin Phillips is at a 'big level' as a defensive midfielder - comparing him to some of the greats he has previously managed.

Friday, 30th July 2021, 5:00 pm
Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa. Pic: Bruce Rollinson

The Yorkshire Pirlo, as he is affectionately known, enjoyed a breakout summer with England at the Euros as those outside of Elland Road started to take note of his abilities.

Phillips featured in every single one of the Three Lions games at this summer's tournament, helping Gareth Southgate's side to the final whistle catching the eye - particularly against Croatia in the opening game of the delayed competition.

His performances led club captain Liam Cooper to hail him as being up there as one of the best midfielders that Europe now has to offer.

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Bielsa has been credited for his influence on the Thorp Arch academy product since his arrival in West Yorkshire in 2018.

The Argentine head coach moved the midfielder back into a holding role and he has flourished since, turning from a Championship regular to a fully-fledged international star with his country.

"If you see the matches in the Euros with the national team, you see the matches for England and Kalvin plays two different things," Bielsa told Stadio Astro.

"One for the national team and one for Leeds United. It's the most important value around Kalvin. He arrived in this moment alone."

Bielsa also said he thought Phillips had now reached a very high level in his game after a year in the Premier League, comparing him to some of the world-renowned players he has managed throughout his lengthy coaching career.

“In Newell’s Old Boys, he [Phillips] plays in the same position as [Dario] Franco and [Tata] Martino, in the national team from Argentina he plays like [Diego] Simeone and [Matías] Almeyda," Bielsa continued.

“From Chile he plays like [Gary] Medel, I have managed different players in this position with the same quality of Phillips, in this moment Phillips is at a big level in this position around the world.”

Leeds kick off the new top flight campaign against arch rivals Manchester United on August 14.

Old Trafford looks set to welcome supporters at maximum capacity, which will then see Leeds fans return to Elland Road a week later for the visit of Everton.

After 18 months of games behind closed doors for the majority, Bielsa revealed he cannot wait to see the Whites faithful back where they belong.

"I am looking forward to the fans arriving again at Elland Road," he added.

"To see the matches and see the team. Hopefully the fans can have more contact with the players."