NEIL REDFEARN says that Leeds United teenage midfielder Kalvin Phillips is ‘knocking on the door’ for first-team involvement following a string of impressive academy performances.
The 18-year-old, who signed his first professional deal in the summer, has excelled in recent weeks for the under-21s and scored two stunning strikes in last Monday’s 3-3 draw at Nottingham Forest in the Professional Development League 2 Under-21s League.
Phillips almost made the first-team match-day squad for the trip to Cardiff City on November 1 and many are tipping him to force his way into first-team contention alongside fellow academy products Alex Mowatt, Lewis Cook and Sam Byram very shortly.
The form of former Wortley FC junior and United Under-18 captain Phillips is being duly noted by Redfearn, who has consistently stated that he will have no fears in further blooding more academy players in the near future if they continue to impress.
Head coach Redfearn, whose side return to action at Blackburn Rovers on Saturday, said: “To be fair, Kalvin is in a good vein of form and is playing well and scoring goals from midfield. He is definitely one who is knocking on the door.
“The good thing that is happening is that the young ones are providing healthy competition. I think to be fair to the seniors in the squad, they have embraced it.
“They know the kids are decent and whatever kids have been in and around the squad, they have been accepted.
“I think that is a really good trait for the seniors to have as they know they have got to compete now.
“If that raises the bar, then great.
“What you find with kids is that they come in and are infectious. They want to train and play and compete. It is good in that way.”
Young United teenage striker Eoghan Stokes followed up his strike against Malta with two more goals for the Republic of Ireland U19s in their 4-1 win over Gibraltar in Wexford.