“Now is the winter of our discontent, made glorious summer by this son of York.”

In Shakespeare’s seminal play Richard III, there is the above line which is used to open the play. Shakespeare is using weather imagery to explain that even at the lowest points, hope is around the corner.

Take the context out, move it away from warring Plantagenet and Tudor houses aiming to claim hold of the English crown. Instead, replace all that Royalist wrangling with Leeds United’s game yesterday afternoon against Middlesbrough.

United were trailing 1-0 to Lewis Wing’s early second-half goal, that ‘winter of discontent’ was firmly setting in. As the half worse on, Leeds were becoming more desperate in attempting to wrest control from Middlesbrough.

With the Whites staring the grimness of defeat in the face, step forward Kalvin Phillips with the following.

That winter shrank away as, at the death, Phillips banished the cold and gave Leeds United fans that glorious feeling of summer. A floated corner from Gjanni Alioski is expertly headed back across goal by Whites captain Liam Cooper.

It was as pin-point a pin-point pass as you could have imagined. Phillips, returning to the side after a three-game ban for a straight red, powered a header past Darren Randolph in the Boro goal. You only have to listen to BBC Radio Leeds’ commentary (below) and how that goal was warmly received by Adam Pope and Noel Whelan.

Under Marcelo Bielsa, Kalvin Phillips is a man reborn, transformed into the distributive hub that drives Leeds United forward. Mocked at times last season by some fans, Phillips is seen by most as an integral cog in Bielsa’s machine at Elland Road.

His solidity and willingness to get stuck in is something the Whites have missed during his suspension absence. It was also sorely missed against Norwich where he remained on the bench. Thankfully, Phillips was back to his tigrish against Boro.

Kalvin Phillips – a tigrish display vs Middlesbrough
  • touches: 63
  • passes/mid-third passes: 51/32
  • pass accuracy: 88%
  • tackles attempted/successful: 5/3
  • shots: 2
  • dribbles: 2

A solid, and dependable platform, like the one that Kalvin Phillips provides, is vital to Leeds United’s success. With just 15 games left until the season’s end, the Whites will be looking for this son of Yorks to provide the basis for more glorious summers and wash away any winters of discontent that might be lurking around the corner.

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