Leeds United will once again be without Kalvin Phillips ahead of their Premier League clash against Wolves on Saturday afternoon.
The 25-year-old was not involved in the matchday squad against Southampton last time out amid an injury which forced him to pull out of Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the international break.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of the match against Wolves today, Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa said: “Kalvin is healthy, but he hasn’t competed for three weeks. If he played on Saturday it would be far too quick. After three weeks out, it’s necessary some more football training.
“And in this stage he’s done training sessions for recovery and physical preparation and progressive work with the ball. I think that to think of him for Saturday would be to bring him back too soon before he’s back at his best.”
Make no mistake about it, no Phillips in this Leeds team makes them an absolute shadow of what they can be.
Including the two games that he has missed this season (against Southampton and the opening day at Manchester United), and the nine that he missed last year, the Whites have won just two matches and lost the other nine.
That speaks to a worrying level of reliance on the talismanic midfielder to control things in the engine room for the Whites, and his absence is a major loss of influence. For instance, his match average of 2.3 tackles is bettered only by defender Liam Cooper, which shows just how much bite Leeds lose when the England international isn’t in the midfield engine room.
Given the kind of rut in which Leeds find themselves, being without someone like Phillips is a hammer blow to Bielsa and is sure to leave the manager gutted that the 25-year-old won’t be able to make it for today’s game against a resurgent Wolves.