Kalvin Phillips has told Leeds United’s official website that the Whites have to get promoted this season or it would be a big chance wasted.
Phillips handed Marcelo Bielsa’s side a massive boost during the international break by signing a new five-year contract at Elland Road.
It comes after a summer where Phillips was heavily linked with a move to the Premier League. The Yorkshire Evening Post reported that the club rejected offers in excess of £20 million for the academy graduate.
The long-term deal should certainly put an end to the speculation for the moment. But it is difficult to imagine Phillips staying for anywhere near five years if Leeds remain in the Championship.
And after signing his new contract, the 23-year-old outlined his desire to secure promotion at the earliest opportunity.
“This season we’ve got to get back in the Premier League and with the team and manager we have got, it would be a big opportunity wasted if we don’t get promoted,” he told the club’s official website.
“We’ve got to push and push for promotion, we came so close last year and I think it has done the team good because we know what it takes and how much hard work it takes to get there.
“Hopefully we can have another good season like last year, but finish it off.”
Phillips’s comments certainly hint that he is only focused on this season. And that could be for a very good reason.
The midfielder clearly wants to stay at Leeds for as long as possible. But he is also a player with the ability to play at the highest level. It would not be a huge surprise to see Phillips mentioned as a potential England player in the not too distant future.
The ideal scenario looks to be for Phillips to play in the top flight for Leeds. And he clearly feels that they will not have a better chance to secure that promotion than this season.
Should they fall short therefore, it would be no surprise if he felt the need to reassess his future. There will surely be attractive offers on the table, and he may wonder if he is going to realise his ambitions with Leeds.
His comments do appear to make it clear that this needs to be the year for Leeds. But he is going to do everything he can to make sure it is their year.