Kalvin Phillips sparks much debate amongst Leeds United fans with his performances. Whether you rate him as a player or not it’s hard to deny that he has played an important role this season, playing in more than half of the games. Given that he is probably most people’s 4th choice in his position that isn’t bad at all.
Phillips has his good days and his bad days and that’s probably what brings him up in conversation time and time again. The main argument from some is that just because he is from the youth ranks at Leeds United he shouldn’t get special treatment, and if that means he isn’t good enough then so be it. Are we easier going on the players who have come through the ranks at the club? Possibly at times this is true, we certainly like to see players come through and make a success of themselves but if they were a poor player then would we really see past that? Personally I don’t think so.
Kalvin Phillips has much to learn in his role at the club. I don’t see him near the ability or potential as Ronaldo Vieira or Lewis Cook, even Alex Mowatt when he arrived on the scene. Phillips will get to where he wants based on hard work behind the scenes as much as his natural ability. Where Cook was blessed with ability and worked extremely hard Phillips will have to do more to make a success of himself at the football club. A defensive midfielder in most eyes although it wasn’t always that way, coming through as a goal scorer into the first team, something we don’t expect from him nearly three years on.
The reason this article is written now is due to his impact in a crucial win over Preston North End on Saturday afternoon. It’s fair to say eyebrows were raised when Phillips started ahead of Eunan O’Kane in the absence of skipper Liam Bridcutt. Garry Monk said after the game that Phillips and Vieira had shown the reaction he wanted after the two defeats and deserved to start, and after the performance it will be tough to drop either for the big trip to Newcastle on Friday night. Phillips showed his passing ability during the game, consistently picking out the wide players with balls from the middle, something we do see from him but not enough. If he could find consistency in his game then he would certainly win over some of his critics.
I’m constantly told and I agree that players who play in the deeper midfield role are normally overlooked in a side when the team is playing well. It goes for Liam Bridcutt, Eunan O’Kane and Ronaldo Vieira as well as Kalvin Phillips. Are we actually being to hard on a player who in the eyes of Garry Monk is good enough to be in the first team or is it still a case of us looking for the good in a “Leeds lad”. Personally I think Phillips has much to offer and he needs to continue working hard with Garry Monk behind the scenes, there is no harm in looking for the positives in a player and I think he has them. He will never be the superstar of the team but still very young and hungry, determined and raw I think Phillips has more than played his part in what is already a very successful season at the club.