Ex-Leeds United manager Neil Redfearn has hailed the importance of Kalvin Phillips at Elland Road and believes he is the club’s “number one asset”.
The 23-year-old has come through the academy at the Yorkshire giants and gone on to become an important first-team player.
He’s now just one game shy of 150 senior appearances for the Whites and he’s set to reach that milestone on Sunday in the Championship fixture away to Barnsley.
Phillips has seen his game go up a level since the arrival of manager Marcelo Bielsa, who has transformed him into a deep-lying playmaker that is so confident in possession and dictates play for his team.
The Englishman has a great work-rate and defensive qualities too, which mean he’s an ever-present in the XI.
Redfearn has stressed the importance that Phillips has penned a new deal during the international break.
The defensive midfielder signed a five-year contract to commit his future to his boyhood club.
“I am chuffed for Kalvin and Leeds that he is staying with them and has got a five-year deal. He is someone they have got to build a side around – his improvement has been that good,” Redfearn told the Yorkshire Post.
“Leeds want to put a marker down and try and get promoted and Kalvin is their number one asset and they have done the sensible thing and shown a bit of foresight and it has to be applauded.
“The role Kalvin is in suits him. He can play at the back and in midfield and when Bielsa creates the overloads all over the pitch, he drops in at the back and then he will push into midfield and create an overload. He is clever with a depth of pass and he will revel in all that.”
There is no doubt that Phillips is one of the key individuals at Leeds and he is already someone that the team is built around.
He’s the heartbeat of the side in the centre of the park, where he shows his brilliant range of passing and is a real standout at Championship level.
Phillips certainly appears to have the skills needed to make the step up to the top-flight, which Leeds fans will hope they get to make next season.
He’s played eery minute of the club’s eight games across all competitions so far and is a permanent feature of the side.