Kalvin Phillips has told the Leeds That podcast that Marcelo Bielsa “absolutely battered” him after his performances against Liverpool and for England – stating that the Leeds United boss likes to keep his players on their toes.
Phillips, 24, has been in excellent form for Leeds since the Whites gained promotion to the Premier League – helping his side sit in a lofty sixth position in the Premier League with three wins from six league games. He is currently sidelined through injury.
A shoulder problem is set to keep Phillips out until the end of November, with Pascal Struijk expected to continue in his place. But the £30,000-a-week (Mirror) star’s form has seen him become an England regular, and now boasts four caps to his name.
However, not all have been impressed with Phillips. Indeed, Phillips claims Leeds boss Bielsa hammered him following his appearances for the Three Lions – suggesting he had not been good enough at times during the 2020-21 campaign.
“I played the games for England, and thought I had done reasonably well, and same against Liverpool, but the meeting after that he took half an hour to just absolutely batter me. He just said I wasn’t good enough,” Phillips told the Leeds That podcast.
“The first game I was alright but the second game I didn’t look myself. He does it to keep you grounded. He does it to let you know you have bad games and you can always improve. He doesn’t let you get too high and doesn’t let you get too low.”
TBR’s view – Whatever Bielsa is doing, it is working
When Bielsa joined, Phillips was being linked with the exit door – and in just the space of two years, he has become one of England’s best midfielders. But keeping him grounded remains just as crucial as aiding his development.
With the plaudits flying in, Phillips could easily get ahead of himself. But reminding Phillips of what it takes to churn out top performances for Leeds at this level is crucial to his development – and it is clear that Phillips is reacting well to Bielsa.