The game against Villa was supposedly a big test of Leeds United’s promotion credentials. The relegated Premier League side were bringing their high-value circus to town.
The Elland Road Big Top was packed with over 32,000 fans as the two teams battled for supremacy in front of the glare of the Sky Sports cameras. There were worries in some quarters that a young Leeds midfield core of Ronaldo Vieira and Kalvin Phillips would be over-run by the power of Villa’s Gary Gardener, Ashley Westwood and the bearded Mile Jedinak.
As it was, there was no need to panic, as the young Leeds duo more than held their own against their more experienced opponents. In fact, showing a maturity beyond their tender years as they handled the packhorse duties in the engine room that is the middle of the park.
After receiving cricism from some quarters after a below-par display against Newcastle United, youngster Kalvin Phillips responded in the best possible manner – putting in a Man-of-the-Match display in front of the cameras and wider football-watching public on Sky.
Kalvin by numbers – earning the M-o-t-M award
- Touches: 63
- Passes: 48
- Passes completed: 34
- Passing Accuracy: 71.1%
- Tackles attempted: 7
- Tackles completed: 4
- Interceptions: 3
- Clearances: 2
Phillips is beginning to put together the performances that Leeds United fans were hoping would come after he made his breakthrough into first team reckoning at the end of the 2014/15 season.