Why Kalvin Phillips believes Leeds United and Marcelo Bielsa wrote the perfect story

Leeds United ended 16 years of hurt this summer with a return to the top flight.

Friday, 7th August 2020, 5:03 pm
Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips (left) celebrates with Gaetano Berardi (middle) and Gjanni Alioski (right). (Picture: PA)

Every great story needs a hero but after Leeds United's promotion to the Premier League this season the club has them in abundance.

The Whites' ascent to the top flight started in a hotel room in Rosario in the summer of 2018 and upon its conclusion two years later, could boast more twists and turns than the average thriller novel.

As a local lad Kalvin Phillips knew more than most that Leeds had written far too many chapters in the depths of Football League and change was needed.

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It is in part due to the 'Yorkshire Pirlo' and his determination that the 2020-21 edition of the club's history will now be penned back where many perceive they rightfully belong.

Marcelo Bielsa is the man who made dreams come true in West Yorkshire after laying out his plan in Argentina a little over 24 months ago, but he insists coaches are the product of their players.

There was heartbreak along the way in the shape of a gut wrenching play-off defeat to Derby County. Spygate too. And even interest from Aston Villa in Phillips last summer.

But United returned with a vengeance and their Wortley-born star to claim the Championship crown in style and enjoy a summer of preparation ahead of a first Premier League campaign since 2004.

"You couldn't write a better story," Phillips reflected on the club's promotion this term.

"Even now, I don't think I realise how big of an achievement it is, but I think maybe after a good season in the Premier League, I can then look back on it.

"The fans are incredible, my phone is still going mental every single day and it's been two weeks now since we got promoted.

"I've been away on holiday and enjoyed myself, but even coming back to Leeds, it still hasn't sunk in.

"I think that'll come in the first week of training and when we're just about to play our first game of the season.

"We celebrated after the [Charlton] game and for the younger members like my cousins and brother, it was just crazy, as they haven't seen it in their lifetime.

"My younger brother rang me up crying, so it was very emotional for us but obviously a great moment."

Asked what his favourite memory from a historic campaign was, he said: "Just coming in every day and being around the lads was great.

"I don't think there's many teams that could bond and get along as a group like we do.

"It comes down to having grounded people in the team, every person is humble and has humility. I think that's one of the reasons why we did so well, and why we'll keep striving to do better."