Dominic Matteo has said that Leeds United ‘just can’t risk’ Kalvin Phillips in the Premier League clash against Arsenal on Sunday.
Writing in his column in the Yorkshire Evening Post, Matteo said that Phillips is a hugely important player for Leeds and that Marcelo Bielsa has struggled to find an adequate replacement while he’s been out injured.
However, he added that if Phillips isn’t 100% on Sunday then Leeds shouldn’t play him and risk losing him for an extended period.
“There has been some talk of Kalvin potentially taking an injection to play against Arsenal at the weekend,” Matteo said.
“If he’s close but not quite there then in my eyes you just can’t risk him for fear of a longer lay-off – and I say that as a player who used to have all sorts done just to get me out on the field.”
In Rob Price we trust
It was Phillips himself – on a COD Twitch stream – who said that he was set for an injection ahead of the game against Arsenal and added that would probably mean he could play.
If that’s come from Rob Price, head of medicine and performance at Leeds, then we’d trust that Phillips isn’t being risked unnecessarily. Leeds just wouldn’t do that.
His absence has been a big problem for Bielsa, who doesn’t have the luxury of Ben White moving up to midfield when he’s out like he did last season.
Adam Forshaw is still seemingly nowhere near a return, either.
If Phillips does miss the game then one possible alternative is playing Robin Koch in his position.
He played there for Germany in the 3-1 win against Ukraine during the international break.
And moving him out of defence might not be such a bad idea after he played there as part of the Germany side who lost 6-0 to Spain last night.
Diego Llorente’s return date is still unknown and it’s highly unlikely he’ll be available for Sunday.
That means Bielsa would likely have to play Pascal Struijk and Liam Cooper in the centre of defence, but with Koch ahead of them we think that would represent a more balanced sided that having either Struijk or Mateusz Klich in the holding midfield role.
In other Leeds United news, What the press made of Leeds CB Robin Koch as Germany smashed 6-0 by Spain