Phil Hay has dropped an update on Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips, regarding his injury status heading into the international break.
According to The Athletic’s Leeds correspondent, Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips has withdrawn from the England squad with a minor knock.
However, despite that blow, the reporter confirmed a big boost for Leeds in the process.
Hay claims that Phillips has a ‘good chance’ of being fit enough to face Southampton after the international break, with his injury not set to rule him out for a prolonged period of time.
This news will leave fans feeling delighted as it is a big boost for Marcelo Bielsa’s side.
Losing Phillips for the clash against Southampton, and possibly beyond that, would have been a sizeable blow to the squad and would have left the Argentine coach needing to tinker with his XI to compensate for Phillips’ absence.
The defensive midfielder has been a crucial figure in the Leeds team under Bielsa, with 34 Premier League starts to his name since the beginning of last season. He averaged a sublime WhoScored rating of 7.01 as he bossed the midfield in the top-flight, earning himself recognition for his country in doing so.
England manager Gareth Southgate admitted that he had faith that Phillips would be able to become an important member of his squad at international level. He said.
“He’s been excellent. The way he has taken to international football, it hasn’t surprised us because what we’d seen with Leeds, even in the Championship, we felt could convert into our team.
“We felt he could play an important role with us. To play in the enormity of the matches he did in the summer and play as well as he did is massive credit to him.”
Whilst this illustrates his quality and shows why his fitness will come as a big boost to Bielsa and leave fans delighted, there is also a lack of depth in his position. Phillips was absent on the opening day of the season against Manchester United and Robin Koch was forced to operate in the holding midfield role, with Leeds losing 5-1 at Old Trafford.
The Whites do not have a natural holding midfielder to cover for Phillips when he is not on the pitch and that is another reason why this injury only being a minor one will delight supporters.
This could also be an area for Victor Orta to look at in the January window as signing a back-up in his position could ease any fears over his availability in the future.