Kalvin Phillips targets next area of improvement in a Leeds United shirt

AERIAL AWARENESS: Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips powers home a header in last season's 1-1 draw at Middlesbrough.
AERIAL AWARENESS: Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips powers home a header in last season's 1-1 draw at Middlesbrough.
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KALVIN PHILLIPS is hoping to provide more aerial assistance in defence as part of his continued improvement at Leeds United, fresh from signing his new five-year deal.

Phillips has began the new campaign in supreme form in his deep lying midfield holding role with the 23-year-old particularly pleased with his improved success rate in winning tackles.

The midfielder says he is also continually improving at finding more frequent opportunities to quickly release the ball to United's front men but it is in clearing other aspects of danger in defence that Phillips would now like to perfect most.

Assessing what aspect of his game he would like to improve on the most, five-foot-ten Phillips said: "Probably aerially. I think I have come on quite a lot but I think I could make more of an influence defending in the box.

"To be honest, we have got quite a small team but we actually are very good aerially.

"We don't concede many from set pieces so I think I would be happy to improve in that aspect of my game."

Asked how he felt he had improved over the summer and six games into the new season, Phillips reasoned: "I think defensively I have been a lot better.

"I read a stat on the internet where I have made one of the most tackles per game as a midfielder in the Champ and I think that just comes down to hard work on the training pitch and the manager and I think tactically, knowing where I need to be and what position I need to be in if certain players go where to help the team.

"I think that's come on a lot and I am really glad that I have got coaching staff around me and good players that help me learn and make me become a better player every day."

Highlighting another impressive area of Phillips' game, Whites head coach Marcelo Bielsa has recently praised the midfielder's work in moving the ball better.

Describing the work that had gone in to making that possible, Phillips explained: "I think just drilling it into me that the quicker we move the ball, the quicker we can get up the pitch and with the more attacks we can get. With the more attacks we get, the more goals we can score.

"I think he just kept on drilling that into me throughout last season and at the start of this season.

"He has tried to progress it more and just getting into positions where if I can give it to the furthest man up the pitch which is closer to goal then I will do that.

"If not then I'll keep the ball and we can recycle and keep on passing the ball but I think it's just more of the manager drilling it into me and trying to do it every time I step out on the training pitch."