The Covid-19 pandemic has closed down society and changed life as we know it. There are people and infrastructure that have been massively affected and will continue to be so. Terms such as ‘unprecedented times’ and ‘the new normal’ sit alongside old words revisited such as ‘furloughed’ in the new, 2020 landscape.
Such has been the knock-on effect that sport has suffered the same lockdown as society what with social distancing rightly being needed to quell the spread of the pandemic. Such has been the scale that the EURO 2020 competition and the Tokyo Olympics have been put off until next year.
Football is starting to take steps back in England, well at least the Sky Bet Championship and Premier League are. They start up next week and will at least be some form of a return to normality. Finally, supporters have something that they can look ahead to.
Another person looking ahead seems to be England boss Gareth Southgate. This look to the future can be seen in words carried by Leeds Live’s Beren Cross in the following tweet:
Twitter: Gareth Southgate on Euro 2021 England squad: “It could be a Ben White, who has been on loan at Leeds, or a Kalvin P… https://t.co/AEdptYXmF4 (@BerenCross)
In the above tweet, Southgate’s words definitely have more than a tipped hat towards the work that Marcelo Bielsa is doing at Elland Road with the likes of Phillips and White.
Under Bielsa’s legendary hand, Kalvin Phillips has been transformed from a box-to-box midfielder who some fans ridiculed into a defensive midfield lock in the mould of Claude Makelele. This has come across two seasons and has seen him rise in prominence that he is being touted as Premier League ready.
For White, it’s been a one-season affair under Bielsa. The luminary Argentinian coach has taken the Brighton and Hove Albion youngster and turned him from a hardly-known defender to a definitely-known star. His stock has risen because of this and top Premier League sides are said to be taking a look at him.
What must be encouraging from a Leeds United fan’s point of view is simple. All the good work that Marcelo Bielsa is doing is not only being recognised by them; it is also being recognised much higher up the chain.