Last summer, it was Kalvin Phillips that Marcelo Bielsa took a special interest in at Leeds United. One year down the line, is this Alfie McCalmont’s year to shine?
A year ago the Argentine arrived and quickly established that Phillips was being criminally under-used at Leeds United.
What happened next was a complete transformation over pre-season. Not only did the legendary physical work of ‘El Loco’ pay immediate dividends but also tactically. Phillips often played in both centre-midfield or centre-back in a back three as Bielsa wanted to develop his all-round game.
The results were astounding. Bielsa helped turn Phillips into a key player at Elland Road. Now, as reported by The Sun, he is valued at £30 million amid interest from Aston Villa.
Yesterday saw Leeds pre-season fixtures kick off with a local game against York City. Leeds fielded a strong side but in Phillips place was 19-year-old Northern Irishman Alfie McCalmont.
He played in that fleeting holding-midfield-centre-back role and was excellent as Leeds cruised to a 5-0 win.
Clearly, he is on Bielsa’s radar and if the teenager can take the Argentine’s messages on board he could easily follow in the footsteps of Phillips.
Perhaps he is the next young star to breakout at Leeds?