Player agent claims Bielsa has taken Leeds 23y/o to next level after fitness issues
Kalvin Phillips’ agent has hailed the Marcelo Bielsa fitness regime as responsible for taking the player to the next level.
Kevin Sharp said that Phillips always had the tools and the hunger to succeed, but said his fitness was a constant problem.
Talking on the latest episode of the LS11 podcast, Sharp said the fitness of the entire Leeds squad was “massive” under Bielsa.
“The fitness is massive and I can certainly speak from Kalvin’s perspective, how he’s come on in terms of his game under Bielsa,” Sharp said.
“His fitness was always an issue and as a central midfielder you have to get about, you have to be mobile. Now Kalvin, before Bielsa came, his body fat was probably a bit high, his mobility in the midfield area probably wasn’t as good as it could be.
“For me he had everything else, the tools were all there, technical ability, range of passing, his hunger, desire, he’s a tough character.
“That mobility, to get to the next level, you have to get about the pitch. He tweaked his diet, his training schedule and he’s gone to the next level.
“Body fat’s a big thing. I think it has to be 10% or under, above that and you’re in trouble with Bielsa.”
Phillips’ career has had a massive boost since Bielsa came in, making the defensive midfield position his own and attracting interest over the summer from the Premier League.
According to The Athletic, Leeds turned down £27m for Phillips in the summer, with the player signing a new long-term deal at Elland Road when the window closed.
He’s been consistently good this season and has the highest overall ranking in the Leeds United squad from WhoScored with a 7.41 average – just ahead of Ben White with a 7.25.
His fitness is showing too. Phillips has made 1,573 touches this season – more than any other player in the squad [WyScout] – and is the engine of the side, linking defence with attack and helping snub out any threats that come Leeds’ way.
Those infamous Bielsa murderball sessions at Thorp Arch are paying dividends.
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