View: Kalvin Phillips should be rested in Leeds v Sheff Utd to avoid Man Utd ban
Leeds United clash with Sheffield United in a fiery Yorkshire Derby on Saturday and that perfect storm is why Kalvin Phillips should be rested at Elland Road.
Bear with us, we haven’t gone mad.
The Whites midfielder has enjoyed a terrific international break away with England as he started all three of their fixtures and completed all but one of them to solidify his place in the squad ahead of this summer’s European Championships.
That’s good news for him and good news for England, but not quite so for Leeds and manager Marcelo Bielsa.
Of course, everyone affiliated with the club is pleased to see his progress and witness a West Yorkshire boy on the international stage, but there might be fitness concerns emanating from consecutive games in a short space of time.
The £35,000-a-week star [Salary Sport] missed four games through injury in February and we suffered in his absence, losing three of them.
He returned versus West Ham on March 8 before appearing against Chelsea and Fulham as we picked up four points against the London outfits.
Three games in a week has followed with the Three Lions and there is a short turnaround after their Wembley win versus Poland on Wednesday night with Sheffield United making the short trip to Elland Road on Saturday afternoon.
Bottom of the Premier League and trailing 25 points us we should be able to make light work of them but a derby is never easy as our previous encounter showed as we battled to a nervy 1-0 win at Bramall Lane, courtesy of a late Patrick Bamford strike.
For all their failings Sheffield United are not usually brushed aside with ease and thus a big midfield battle awaits on Saturday with John Lundstram and John Fleck fiery characters.
That is another reason why we think Phillips should be handed a rest.
Only four players have picked up more Premier League yellow cards than his seven this season [Premier League website] and as reported on Leeds Live, a booking in each of his next three fixtures [v Sheffield United, Manchester City and Liverpool] would earn him a two-match suspension.
The cut-off date is after April 19 so Phillips just has to avoid a booking in one of the next three games. Simple task, right?
Well, not quite so as we found out on January 2 when he picked up a needless yellow card in the dying embers of a 3-0 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur to accrue his fifth of the season and thus a one-match ban.
That meant he was absent from a crucial clash with Brighton two weeks later and we lost that 1-0.
Our next game after the Liverpool cut-off point? Manchester United at Elland Road.
Phillips will be desperate to play that and Leeds fans are also desperate to see that.
Using the Spurs game as an example, we’re not sure he can be trusted to keep his emotions in check on Saturday and in a game where we should sweep aside the visitors, it is the perfect opportunity to ensure his availability versus Manchester United.
In other Leeds United news, Whites loanee returns to Thorp Arch amid season-ending injury.