MOT View: Leeds 23y/o proving he is Premier League quality week-in, week-out
Leeds were desperate to hold onto Kalvin Phillips this season and, despite interest from Premier League sides over the summer, the midfield kingpin stayed at Elland Road and signed a new five-year contract in September.
Leeds turned down £27m for the player, a huge sum for a Championship player, with journalist Phil Hay adding that while Aston Villa were his strongest suitors, Sheffield United and Burnley were keen as well.
Bielsa saw him as central to his Leeds system and he’s the tactical genius who brought Phillips back into the defensive midfield position where he’s excelled since.
Phillips’ 19/20 stats show why he’s so important.
He’s made 60 tackles this season at an average of 4 per game – more than any other player in the Championship. [WhoScored]
He’s also got the second-highest overall rating for the season on WhoScored, with an average of 7.41 across 15 Championship games, a score only slightly bettered by QPR’s Eberechi Eze with 7.58.
The QPR man is definitely running above expectation too, with six goals and an xG of just 3.5. [WyScout]
And Eze was no match for Leeds and Phillips on Saturday when his side was dominated in a 2-0 defeat at Elland Road.
Phillips hit a 7.6 rating and it’s this consistency (he’s only dropped below a 7 twice and even then hit high 6s) week-in, week-out that proves why those Premier League sides were willing to spend so much to land him.
If Leeds get promoted this season then he’ll realise his dream of playing in the Premier League with the club he supported as a boy.
If not, then it’s hard to see Leeds holding onto him for another season.
In other Leeds news, Roberts shines, 25y/o gets a 5 – Leeds player ratings v QPR