Philips has proven a favourite for Bielsa in recent weeks.
Kalvin Phillips Key To Bielsa’s Strategy
Head coach Marcelo Bielsa has recently been explaining to reporters and fans alike that Leeds-born Kalvin Phillips is the ace up his sleeve in how the team operates on the field, and hopes that the midfielder will be available to take part in the all the games that are set to take place this season.
The first few weeks have seen Phillips as the driving force of the team, and the entirety of Leeds have been following his lead closely. Despite his performance and early booking and substitution against Swansea Phillips is likely to be a key part of Marcelo Bielsa’s plans in the coming games.
Versatility and work rate have been the focus of Bielsa’s teams so far and Phillips has been important to this. Operating in front of the back for he has been a true box to box player and a vitalpart of Bielsa’s quick transition from defence to attack. Philips has been one of few players who has been in the starting 11 for every game this season.
Bielsa’s Bid To Keep Phillips Playing Is An Important Factor
Bielsa has kept a close eye on the players, watching highlights of previous games well into the night before taking the job at Elland Road during the month of June, and has been swayed by the form and simplicity in which Phillips plays.
The 22-year-old has proven has divided the opinion of Leeds fans but has put in consistent performances since his debut. In his fourth start at Bristol City in 2015 he covered over 13 kilometres during the game. This demonstrated his high work rate and one of the reasons he has become a favourite of the new coach.
Phillips Hadn’t Missed a Beat Until Tuesday
Phillips presence in the team has been made more irreplaceable thanks to his short-and-sharp passing in tight spaces, as well as his positioning, which has allowed full-backs Like Ayling and Barry Douglas to move forward. His level of effectiveness has made him one of Bielsa’s key players. This proved especially true after the eight player changes that were made during their League Cup win against Bolton Wanderers, where Phillips retained his position as many others were switched around.
Forshaw, a complete midfielder accouraging to Bielsa, would have been the early bet for a starting position. But given Phillips performances so far Forshaw may find it hard to dislodge him when he returns from injury.
Bielsa has told reporters that he feels that Phillips is a practical player who plays on a simple level, and that he’s good from a defensive perspective. He added that the midfielder has a good long pass, and has a strong orientation of the game in general.
A Change From Bielsa’s Well-Known Habits
It comes as a surprise to many, especially as Bielsa once had a habit of changing his midfielders to centre-backs, a habit he justified as a means of raising the standards when passing from the back. But Tuesday nights injury to Liam Cooper saw Luke Ayling slot into the middle of defence rather than Phillips moving back. His confidence in Phillips has not gone unnoticed, and both English, European, and Australian sports betting punters and bookies have kept up with Bielsa’s beliefs.