'We understand each other' - Kalvin Phillips welcomes return of close friend to Leeds United side
Kalvin Phillips has welcomed the return of close friend Adam Forshaw to Marcelo Bielsa's Leeds United midfield.
The pair played in the middle of the park together against Leicester City before the international break, for the first time since September 2019. A complex hip injury, surgeries and numerous set-backs kept Forshaw from first team action for almost two full years.
Forshaw finally returned in the Carabao Cup in August and has been eased slowly and carefully back into Bielsa's plans. The Leicester game was his first start in the Premier League and he managed 90 minutes. Playing for that length of time in a game with a high tempo against quality opposition was one thing but his performance level was quite another. Forshaw was one of the standout performers for Leeds, helping Phillips to keep classy operators like Youri Tielemans quiet.
"It's very nice to have Adam back," said Phillips in an interview with BBC Leeds."Obviously I know it's been very painful for him over the last 18 months or so. I'm very close to Ads to be fair, he's a very nice person. Even though he's been out for so long, he's always been in high spirits and spoke to everyone, never gone in a mood or showed that it's affected him in any way. I really respect him for that. He deserves everything he gets. It has been a tough period for him and to come out and play like he did against Leicester was amazing, a credit to himself."
Forshaw is, according to Bielsa, the kind of midfielder the club could not have bought in the transfer market, thanks to his range of skills. It's the defensive side of his game and the grit he displays that appeals particularly to Phillips and he's delighted to have been able to resume their partnership.
"We're good friends, we get on really well and I think it shows on the football pitch that we understand each other, the way each other plays," he said.
"He's like me, he's not afraid to get stuck in either so I think we gel in that way. I enjoy playing with him."
Leeds return to action on Sunday at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.