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Leeds must start Kalvin Phillips against Watford

Leeds United manager Jesse Marsch must finally start Kalvin Phillips in the Premier League on Saturday as his side take on Watford at Vicarage Road.

The England international has missed the best part of three months with injury, having gone down in the 2-2 draw against Brentford at Elland Road in early December. He was named in the matchday squad for the 3-2 victory against Wolves three weeks ago before finally making his return to competitive action last time out against Southampton.

Rather understandably, Marsch chose to bring him on as a second half substitute against the Saints, but with another week’s worth of training under Phillips’ belt, now is surely the time to bring him in from the start.

The midfielder’s return offers Leeds another boost in the final few weeks of the season, with their recent results seeing them climb away from the relegation zone and put some distance between them and the bottom three.

His influence in the middle of the park cannot be understated, and that’s not to mention the kind of impact he has in lifting spirits both among his team-mates and the crowd whenever he’s on the pitch – something about which former Whites midfielder Michael Brown has previously waxed lyrical.

The 45-year-old said: “He is a wonderful talent and he loves Leeds United. What I like about him is that he is such a level headed kid. Brilliant to talk to. He is a proper Leeds supporter and how can he play!

“Kalvin can play so many positions. Central defence, in a three, holding midfield and he can even play more advance in a number eight. He has a bit of everything in his play – short and long pass, a tackle when needed, energy, competitive – a proper player.”

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After seeing Phillips deliver a fine performance against Bristol City a couple of seasons ago, The Athletic’s Phil Hay raved: “You’d say that an enforced break has done Kalvin Phillips the world of good. He’s been an animal in the past two games and when he plays like he did today, the opposition are snookered. Surely his last season in the Championship.”

That line from Hay about leaving teams “snookered” is exactly the kind of impact Marsch will be hoping that his midfield talisman will be able to bring; and after getting a brief runout against Southampton, Phillips should be in contention for a bigger role at Vicarage Road.

The £45m-rated star must finally start against Watford on Saturday afternoon.

AND in other news – Signed for £5m, now worth 700% more: Orta struck dream Leeds deal with “quality” 22-year-old

Article title: Leeds must start Kalvin Phillips against Watford

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