Kalvin Phillips jokes he used to be scared of Marcelo Bielsa when he first arrived at Leeds United

The Yorkshire Pirlo is a fans' favourite at Elland Road

By Joe Urquhart
Sunday, 29th March 2020, 11:30 am
Updated Sunday, 29th March 2020, 12:48 pm
Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips celebrates at Elland Road. (Image: Getty)
Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips celebrates at Elland Road. (Image: Getty)

Kalvin Phillips has joked that he used to find Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa scary when he first arrived at the club.

The 24-year-old has been a key player under the Whites boss since his appointment at Elland Road in the summer of 2018.

Bielsa handed Phillips a new role in front of the back four and the Thorp Arch academy product hasn't looked back since.

His form over the past two seasons has seen calls for him to be included in Gareth Southgate's England set-up despite plying his trade in the second tier.

Football, though, is currently suspended across Europe amid the coronavirus outbreak.

United find themselves top of the Championship table with nine games of the season to go as they look to end a 16-year absence from the Premier League.

Phillips has now admitted jokingly that he found the Argentinian a little scary when he first arrived in West Yorkshire.

"I don't find him scary - not anymore!" he told to Football Focus.

"Last year I did, a little bit.

"He's kind of like, not like a Grandad - when he laughs and when he is smiling it makes everyone happy."

He added: "I think given the strides we've made over the last two seasons, the only way (to improve) is to make history and get us back to the Premier League."

Phillips also hailed the impact of the 64-year-old on his development late last year having seen his own game come on leaps and bounds in LS11.

"I never thought I'd be able to do this well," he said in December.

"I think just with the way he makes us train at 100 per cent every day. He makes us watch videos on our games. He goes back and tells us what we've done wrong and right.

"He mostly focuses on the stuff we've done wrong, but when you do something right you know you've done well. It's positional play as well. I could have played, well I felt like I could've played anywhere in midfield.

"But he knew what position was best for me and knew where he wanted me to play. I think with his style it has helped nurture me into playing that position. It's been a massive help to me."