Leeds United were perhaps handed a further reminder of Kalvin Phillips’s importance at the weekend in their dramatic 4-2 loss at Arsenal.
Like so many of his teammates, Phillips has been a revelation in the Premier League. But it is surely fair to say that no player’s absence can hurt Leeds more than when Marcelo Bielsa is unable to call upon the England international.
Pascal Struijk struggled to make the same impression on Sunday’s game. Meanwhile, there is obviously a question mark hanging over what impact Adam Forshaw will be able to have after so long out on the sidelines when he does return.
So it would make sense for Leeds to look at signing a new holding midfielder in the summer. And perhaps, the ideal option made himself known on the same stage which saw Phillips steal the show back in November.
One of Phillips’s best displays yet came in the 1-0 win at Everton late last year. The 25-year-old was outstanding. His reading of the game has rarely been better. His long-range passing was just as impressive.
But it is now not the only time this season a newly-promoted side have gone to the Toffees and left with three points.
Fulham beat Carlo Ancelotti’s side 2-0 at the weekend. And while Josh Maja understandably took many of the headlines, it was unquestionably the performance of Harrison Reed that was pivotal.
Like Phillips a few months ago, Reed was everywhere. And the similarities in the stats between their respective appearances are startling.
As shown by Whoscored, Phillips managed a pass-completion rate of 93 percent, making over 70 accurate passes. The same website shows that Reed also managed over 70, with a success rate of 92 percent. Both men completed one key pass.
Both players managed two successful tackles. Reed’s tally of three interceptions meanwhile, was one higher than Phillips’.
Fulham’s situation remains fairly bleak. So if Scott Parker’s side do go down, Leeds simply have to look at Reed – who signed permanently for £6 million in the summer (via Sky Sports) – as a potential understudy for Phillips.
The Whites have seen how good he can be. He was superb in last season’s meeting between the two at Elland Road.
And having come close to replicating Phillips’s masterful display at Goodison Park, Reed may be the perfect option to pursue when the summer window arrives.