Former Leeds United midfielder Carlton Palmer has hailed Kalvin Phillips for his positive influence at Elland Road in an exclusive interview with Football FanCast.
Phillips has had to contend with a couple of injuries in his debut Premier League campaign, but the 25-year-old has been available for selection again in recent weeks, which will come as a relief to manager Marcelo Bielsa.
Much like last season, Phillips has been an important player for the Argentinian, making 20 league appearances this term to follow on from the 37 he made prior.
Indeed, the English midfielder is a key asset to this Leeds side, and Palmer believes losing him throughout parts of this campaign has been a blow for the Whites. Speaking about Phillips’ importance to the team, Palmer told FFC:
“He was a big player for him last season and to lose him through injury has been a bit of a blow, and I think that’s why they’ve taken their time to get him back to full fitness.
“But once he gets back to full fitness and he starts firing for them, he’s a big player for them on the pitch, but I think he’s also big in the dressing room for Bielsa. So he’ll be delighted [to have him back].”
Looking at some of Phillips’ numbers, it is no surprise that Bielsa leans on the England international so heavily. In the Premier League this season, he has averaged 2.7 tackles per game, an average only bettered by Liam Cooper (2.8) in Leeds’ squad (via WhoScored).
Phillips is also the team’s long-ball specialist. The Leeds academy graduate is currently averaging 5.3 successful long balls a match, the highest average among Bielsa’s men, showing that he is also a very capable player in possession.