Grandma 'buzzing' with family integral to Kalvin Phillips' Leeds United success story

KALVIN PHILLIPS says staying at Leeds United was the perfect outcome for himself and his close-knit family who are the ones to thank for taking the midfielder to the Whites.

By Lee Sobot
Friday, 13th September 2019, 9:12 pm
FAMILY MAN: Midfielder Kalvin Phillips arriving at last month's Leeds United - Take Us Home documentary premiere. Picture by Tony Johnson.
FAMILY MAN: Midfielder Kalvin Phillips arriving at last month's Leeds United - Take Us Home documentary premiere. Picture by Tony Johnson.

Phillips proved in huge demand over the summer with Leeds knocking back bids in excess of £20m with Aston Villa leading the chase for his services.

Leaving Elland Road would have brought an end to a nine-year love affair with his home town club whom Phillips joined aged 14 having excelled for Wortley Juniors but the midfielder first and foremost left the decision about his future in chairman Andrea Radrizzani's hands.

Radrizzani's stance was simple - the 23-year-old midfielder was going nowhere - the perfect outcome for both the midfielder and his family who the Whites ace admits were naturally keen for his career to continue with the Whites.

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Phillips is now contracted at Leeds until the summer of 2024 having signed a new five-year deal on Monday.

Reflecting on what effects the summer speculation had on his nearest and dearest, Phillips said: "I don't think it's felt like much. I don't think I'd be here if I felt it was too much.

"I think my family are one of the main reasons why I am at this club.

"The only reason I am probably playing football is because of my family so I kind of do it for them. But I think with the family side of it, it makes it a lot easier for me to go out and play for the badge and play for the club because it is my family.

"I have been here all my life so I think it's a lot easier.

"All my family wanted me to stay close. We are quite a close family.

"My mum only lives five minutes away from me so she expressed how much she wanted me to stay but I said 'it's not up to me. It's up if Leeds want to sell me or if they don't.'

"I told her that and she was happy with that and she said if it happens it happens but I'm just glad that I am here and I am here for a long time."

The importance of Phillips' family was again highlighted in a major event away from the pitch last month as the midfielder was accompanied by his mum and also grandma to the Leeds United: Take Us Home premiere.

Grandma Val, in particular, has quickly become a favourite with Phillips' fans.

Asked how his gran felt about his new deal, Phillips smiled: "She is buzzing to be fair!

"I didn't think as many people would take as much of a liking to her as everyone has to be honest! She is a laugh to be fair.

"Sometimes you see her on bad days, sometimes you see her on good days, I'm just glad everybody has seen her on a good day to be honest!"

Now, with another five years to look forward to, her grandson is relishing the prospect of even better days ahead with Leeds.

"Obviously I am happy," said Phillips.

"It's another five years here at my hometown club and it's something that I'll try and make the most of and hopefully get Leeds back to where they belong.

"But on a personal note obviously I wanted to stay here, I have always wanted to be here.

"Being from Leeds, I have always wanted to be here and I think my family have always wanted me to stay at this club.

"I'm just happy that everything is over and done with now and I can concentrate on playing football."