Kalvin Phillips knows he'll annoy Leeds supporters with choice of his favourite player

Alan Smith during his last Elland Road appearance

Phillips has endeared himself to Leeds supporters this season, but has made a controversial choice.

Blackburn's Hope Akpan and Leeds' Kalvin Phillips in actionBlackburn's Hope Akpan and Leeds' Kalvin Phillips in action

Kalvin Phillips has admitted to BBC Radio Leeds that his choice of his favourite Leeds United player when he was growing up is bound to annoy the Elland Road faithful. 

The 20-year-old has spent the last six years coming through the ranks with the Yorkshire side, but explained to BBC Radio Leeds that he was frequently in the crowd for the Whites' games when he was younger. 

Given his age, it is likely that he was starting to come to games around the time that David O'Leary's side reached the Champions League semi-final and were frequently spoken about as potential Premier League title contenders.

But while much of that team will be fondly remembered, Phillips named a player that severely damaged his relationship with the Leeds fans when he left the club as his favourite, before also suggesting two alternative answers from more recent sides.

Alan Smith, Barcelona v Leeds 2000Alan Smith

He told BBC Radio Leeds when asked who his favourite player was growing up: "Alan Smith, it's not a good answer, is it?"

"But yeah, he was a good player."

"And obviously, as I was coming up, getting older and older, I liked [Jermaine] Beckford and Bradley Johnson."

Many of the club's supporters felt somewhat betrayed after Smith joined the Whites' bitter rivals Manchester United following their relegation from the top flight in 2004, even though Leeds' financial struggles seemingly made it impossible for the club to keep hold of any of their key players.

Alan Smith during his last Elland Road appearanceAlan Smith during his last Elland Road appearance

Despite the circumstances surrounding his departure, there is no question that Smith encapsulated exactly what was special about Leeds during their most successful period since their title win in 1992, having come through the ranks to become one of the focal points of O'Leary's youthful and exciting side.

And with current Leeds boss Garry Monk having his own cluster of academy graduates to call upon - including Phillips - the midfielder will be hoping that he can help the club reach the heights that the Leeds side that Smith played in threatened to hit. 

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