Kalvin Phillips Leeds United transfer 'push' revealed as Bamford sends classy message to Man City man and Raphinha
Patrick Bamford has revealed that Kalvin Phillips was encouraged to leave by his Leeds United teammates.
The Yorkshire Pirlo departed Leeds this summer, ending a 14-year career at his boyhood club to join Premier League champions Manchester City in a £42m switch.
Phillips is a hero among the Elland Road faithful, who watched on as the Whites academy product grew from strength to strength and contributed to United’s return to the top flight after 16 years in exile.
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Interest in Phillips from top clubs sky-rocketed after the Wortley lad played a starring role in England’s dazzling Euro 2020 campaign and, after helping to steer the Whites clear of relegation last season, the call of Champions League football became impossible to resist.
Fiercely loyal to Leeds, the Wortley lad turned down the opportunity to join old rivals Manchester United after the Reds made overtures – instead, Phillips will play the 2022/2023 season under Pep Guardiola, one of the keenest disciples of the man to whom Phillips attributes much of the success of his career, former Whites manager Marcelo Bielsa.
The lost talent will be keenly felt at Leeds, but United will benefit enormously from the huge fee landed for the midfielder, who goes with the blessings of the Whites fanbase.
His teammates, too, are proud to see him go – and striker Patrick Bamford claims they willed him to take his chance.
“None of us can begrudge him for going and I think we were all kind of – as sad as it is – almost pushing him because he deserves it and it’s his time,” Bamford said.
“If you look at Kalvin and the way he came on in the last four years – it said it all when he went straight from getting promoted to then being in the England team and he kind of became a mainstay there.
"So he deserves his chance, he deserves to go and win trophies and fight for trophies on all fronts.”
Phillips’ exit was soon followed up by another high-profile departure, as Raphinha set his sights on following in the footsteps of his hero Ronaldinho in joining Barcelona.
Amid ongoing concerns about the Spanish giants’ finances, the Brazilian rejected an approach from Chelsea in the hopes of holding out for his dream switch.
As the transfer saga rumbled on, Raphinha stayed behind at Thorp Arch as his team-mates jetted off for a pre-season tour in Australia – but Bamford says the winger’s commitment to United didn’t waver until the deal was done.
“With Rapha, obviously everyone knew that Barca was like his boyhood dream," Bamford told PA News Agency.
"Even when he came back, while he was waiting for things to be sorted out, he was still good with the lads – he still trained hard in pre-season under Jesse even though he knew what was going on.
“So they both deserve what they’ve got and we wish them all the best.”