'Not doing that' - Kalvin Phillips on Granny Val's role in rebuffing Aston Villa and giving Leeds United 'one more shot'

KALVIN Phillips has opened up on the role that his Granny Val played in keeping him at Leeds United amid interest from Aston Villa.

Sunday, 18th April 2021, 4:45 pm

Villa wanted to sign Phillips in the summer of 2019 as the Midlands outfit geared up for a first season back in the Premier League having gone up as that season's Championship play-off winners.

Leeds had suffered heartache in the play-offs semi finals via defeat to Derby County that Phillips admitted left him "gutted" and contemplating the prospect of a move to Villa to achieve his childhood dream of playing Premier League football.

However, the midfielder's much missed grandmother Val Crosby was having none it and advised the Whites Academy graduate to have one more try at sealing promotion back to the big time with Leeds.

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KEY INFLUENCE: Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips, centre, with his much missed late grandmother Val Crosby or 'Granny Val', left, at the Take Us Home premiere in Leeds back in August 2019. Photo by Tony Johnson.

United rebuffed multiple offers in excess of £20m for the midfielder's services and Phillips then signed a new five-year deal in September 2019.

Ten months later, Phillips and Leeds sealed promotion to the Premier League in the ultimate style as Marcelo Bielsa's side romped to the Championship title.

It meant Phillips had helped his boyhood team back to the country's top flight after a 16-year absence and Leeds are now tenth in the table with just seven games left.

Granny Val, who became something of a Leeds icon with her appearances in the Take Us Home documentary, sadly passed away in February and her memory - and influence - lives on with the Whites.

Speaking as part of a feature on Football Focus, Phillips was asked by Ian Wright about the interest from Aston Villa and if Granny Val got involved and Phillips admitted: "Yeah she did to be fair.

"The season we didn't get promoted and we got knocked out in the play-offs - I was gutted man.

"I told her about Aston Villa being in touch and she was like 'oh no, you are not doing that.'

"I was like 'what do you mean? It's a chance to play Premier League football, I have always wanted to do it.'

"She said 'you have been at Leeds for ten years now, you were this close to going up, why not give it one more shot to try and make it up, try and do something that Leeds fans and your family will never forget and stick it out.'"

Phillips also opened up to Wright on how he has tried to be a rock for his grieving family following his beloved grand mother's passing away.

"It is tough," said Phillips.

"I had a couple of days off to kind of get all the grieving over and done with and just being there for my mum was the main thing.

"I am the oldest in the family so I just had to be there to support them, no matter how much it hurt me."

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Thank you Laura Collins