Make no bones about it, Kalvin Phillips is Premier League class and shines in a very good Leeds United side. His return after a three-game suspension and displays against Brentford and Bristol City underlined that.
In those games he was like a dervish, whirling or otherwise as he snapped into the Bees and Robins midfield playmakers and snuffed out their game, broke down their play and strangled any chances they had to impose themselves on the games in question.
Such is his presence that it cannot surely be coincidental that his reappearance after suspension marries up to the surge and upturn in fortune that Leeds United are experiencing on the pitch. No, Leeds United are not a one-man team without Phillips but he is an integral cog in all that Marcelo Bielsa’s side do that is good.
With all that in mind, there was palpable concern today when the ‘Yorkshire Pirlo’ couldn’t continue after a typically thunderous challenge and had to be subbed off just 37 minutes into today’s game against Reading at Elland Road. The customary reshuffle that brought Ben White into defensive midfield was done, adjustments were made and Leeds United eventually came out the other side 1-0 to the good.
Such is Phillips’ importance to the side, it was obvious that fans would want to know prognosis of his injury and what the outlook was looking forward. The first to broach this subject was The Athletic’s Phil Hay in an after-match tweet:
Phillips on the pitch at full-time and walking about quite happily which is a very good sign. Will see what Bielsa says about him shortly. #lufc
— Phil Hay (@PhilHay_) February 22, 2020
Further news came after the end of the game through Bielsa’s post-match presser. The Yorkshire Evening Post’s Graham Smyth delivered Bielsa’s comments and prognosis on Phillips’ injury with the legendary Argentinian saying: “I think it’s a kick, but I don’t know if this [will evolve] as a serious injury or not,” said Bielsa after victory took Leeds five points clear of third place.
Next up for Leeds United is a trip north to The Riverside to face Middlesbrough in what might be a game too soon for Kalvin Phillips bearing in mind today’s injury substitution.