Hatfield backs former Leeds United club mate to be "massive" for Bielsa's Whites

BIG FAN: Guiseley's Will Hatfield.
BIG FAN: Guiseley's Will Hatfield.
Have your say

GUISELEY'S former Leeds United youngster Will Hatfield believes former club mate Kalvin Phillips can be a "massive player" for new Whites head coach Marcelo Bielsa ahead of tonight's meeting with his former side.

Hatfield joined United's youth system aged nine before leaving for FC Halifax Town some 11 years later having come close to making a memorable debut appearance for the Whites four years earlier.

The midfielder was an unused substitute during United's 3-1 loss at home to Tottenham Hotspur in the fourth round of the FA Cup in February 2010 at a time when Whites Academy player Phillips was just 15 years old.

Eight years later, Phillips has made 93 appearances for the Whites with Phillips and Hatfield still in contact and set to lock horns in tonight's pre-season friendly at Nethermoor Park.

Having keenly watched his former club-mate's progress, Hatfield now believes that Phillips has all the attributes required to excel under new Whites head coach Bielsa.

Hatfield told the YEP: "There's only Kalvin and Tyler Denton left I think from when I was there and Tyler's obviously on loan at Peterborough now.

"There's been a lot of changes at Leeds since I was there but Kalvin is there and it will be good to catch up with him.

"I speak to him now and then and it will be nice to play against him in midfield and test myself against him again

"He can be a massive player for Bielsa.

"He has had that taste now and I think this is the year where he needs to step up and really feel what he is about.

"He has had good experience as he has been put in at the deep end at such a young age and he needs to step up to the plate now with that experience that he has got.

"He just needs to start dominating that midfield which he he has been doing with his energy and breaking up the play and I'm looking forward to watching him progress this season."

Reflecting on his own memories of his time at Leeds, Hatfield recalled: "I have amazing memories of being at the club and it's something that I will remember forever.

"Obviously one of the highlights was being on the bench against Tottenham in the FA Cup which was unbelievable.

"I remember it clearly, Tottenham were pretty much in control and dominating the game.

"Jermaine Defoe scored a hat-trick so I did at one point think Simon Grayson might throw me on.

"I was getting nervous because it was a full house - 40,000 and I was about to get my debut.

"Unfortunately that didn't happen and I stayed on the bench but it was great to be involved in such a big game anyway and it's memories that will last forever.

"Them times will never go away and I'm a Leeds fan anyway so it's the first result I look for on a Saturday. Them coming to us on Thursday - it's an exciting time."

The midfielder also believes Argentine boss Bielsa can quickly become a big success at Elland Road with the 26-year-old only urging his former club to further strengthen the squad in the final two weeks of the summer transfer window.

Hatfield admitted: "I didn't really know much about Marcelo Bielsa but then when I looked into it and I have seen who he is and his background, he seems to be a very good manager.

"With him being from Argentina and the language barrier and stuff it will be interesting to see how it works but once he's got the lads in the dressing room and the lads know how it works then I'm sure he will be a success and I hope he is going to be anyway.

"I still think they need to add a few more signings and hopefully they will came in the next couple of weeks because the season is not far away far now.

"But I am sure he has got an identity of what he wants to do at the club and hopefully he can be a success because it's going to be a big season ahead for them."