Today saw Leeds midfielder Kalvin Phillips notch his fourth league goal of the season in a performance where he battled from the first whistle to the last. His new role in the side has given him the license to get into the final third and he’s proving he can be very effective in those positions.
It hasn’t been an easy route for Kalvin Phillips into the first-team and when he has got there before it has lasted a few games and then gone again before he comes back and does it again. Under Monk he had a steady season but didn’t flourish and we are now realising why that was, he was used totally in the wrong way. His bursts into the final third are showing what sort of player Kalvin Phillips can be if he is guided and moulded by someone who sees his strengths, and Thomas Christiansen has done exactly that. If someone had said before the season Phillips would get four goals this year most would have laughed, he has four by the end of September and with a game to spare.
His other attributes do go unnoticed at times and he does have one main problem, consistency. Last season he rarely caught the eye but I’ve given him man of the match three times already in nine games so far this campaign. He isn’t just scoring the goals he is putting in a real shift in the middle of the park and taking a lot of responsibility on his young shoulders. His blood and thunder attitude isn’t always evident but when it is we absolutely love it. He can bully opponents at times and good examples of that is what he did in the Sunderland and Nottingham Forest games. Liam Bridcutt had a point to prove but barely got a kick with Phillips dominating that are of the park.
Phillips may not have put in big tackles today but when Ipswich went long he was the one dropping and challenging people much bigger than him, and winning some of the duals. He also pushed players off the ball and held them off when he had it. His passing wasn’t a big part of his game today because there wasn’t much room to be doing that, Eunan O’Kane was forced to chase, harass and get stuck in instead of getting on the ball at times and Phillips complimented him brilliantly. He was my man of the match against Ipswich today and when we needed players to stand up towards the end he was one who did it and made sure we got over the line. Great start to the season.