Steve Hodge suggests what may have convinced Leeds to sell Liam Bridcutt

General view of Elland Road before the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Sheffield Wednesday at Elland Road on February 25, 2017 in Leeds, England.

Former Leeds United midfielder Steve Hodge has suggested that Ronaldo Vieira and Kalvin Phillips' development would have tempted the Whites to sell Liam Bridcutt.

Ronaldo Vieira of Leeds United closes down Ben Osborn of Nottingham Forest during the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Nottingham Forest at Elland Road on January 25,...

Steve Hodge has told The Noel Whelan Show on BBC Radio Leeds that the progress that Kalvin Phillips and Ronaldo Vieira have made since bursting onto the scene at Leeds would have probably been an important factor in the Whites' decision to sell Liam Bridcutt to Nottingham Forest.

When Bridcutt was brought back to Elland Road one year ago, many fans felt that they had just completed the most important deal of the summer with the holding midfielder excelling during his previous loan spell.

However, fast forward one year and Bridcutt moved to the City Ground, with new boss Thomas Christiansen tending to prefer Eunan O'Kane and Kalvin Phillips in the middle of the park - while Ronaldo Vieira and Mateusz Klich had featured prominently on the bench during the opening weeks of the campaign.

Kalvin Phillips of Leeds United in action during The Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round match between Sutton United and Leeds United at Borough Sports Ground on January 29, 2017 in Sutton,...

And Hodge - speaking before the Whites' victory over Bridcutt's new side at the weekend - heaped praise upon both Phillips and Vieira, and suggested that their potential may well have convinced Christiansen that he was making the right call letting Bridcutt leave. 

"I've been impressed with Vieira from minute one, I have to say, because he came from nowhere," he told The Noel Whelan Show on BBC Radio Leeds.

"He can handle himself without a shadow of a doubt, his passing's improved, defensively [he's] very strong and aggressive, he's been a little bit more mature this year in that he's given away less free-kicks in bad areas.

"He reminds me a little bit of David Batty," he went on to add.

Liam Bridcutt of Leeds United uring the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Derby County at Elland Road on January 13, 2017 in Leeds, England.

"I think he's a slow-burner but I think he's a good player," he added after switching his attention to Phillips.

"I think he's still very, very young in his career and both those players have probably forced the hand of the manager to say, 'look we're young, we're going to get better, we've got good resale value if you ever sell us one day,' and Liam Bridcutt's 28 now so they've basically said to the manager, 'we're the future' and the manager's thought, 'OK, I'll let Liam go then'."

Hodge's comments appear to have been vindicated very quickly as Leeds got the better of Bridcutt's new side on Saturday, with Phillips, in particular, impressing against Forest.

It was his brilliant challenge that allowed Ezgjan Alioski to bag the clinching goal in the 2-0 win, while Vieira - who has not featured that often this term - demonstrated in several big games last term that he clearly has the potential to play at the highest level.

And while he may be wondering how limited his chances may be this term, Vieira should arguably not forget that he received one of the biggest votes of confidence from the club by being the first player to be awarded a new contract following Andrea Radrizzani's takeover earlier this year.

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