Kalvin Phillips was surprisingly left out of the Leeds United side that faced their Championship rivals last week.
Kalvin Phillips has told BBC Radio Leeds that he was gutted to miss Leeds’ defeat to Norwich last week, but insisted that he looks at every decision Marcelo Bielsa makes as a positive.
It surprised a number of Leeds fans when Phillips was left on the bench for the game at Elland Road. It was the first time that the Whites academy graduate has been available and not started a league game under Bielsa, with Adam Forshaw holding onto the midfield role while Pontus Jansson returned in defence.
Unfortunately for Leeds, it was a hugely disappointing night as the Canaries took the three points. And after returning to the side for the draw with Middlesbrough this weekend, Phillips admitted that he was hurt to miss out last time out.
“Obviously I was gutted not to play,” he told BBC Radio Leeds. “It was a massive game. But every decision the manager makes, I always take that as a positive.
“Obviously, the result didn’t go to plan last week but we carry on going. It’s a long season and we’ve got a lot more games to come so hopefully we can carry on a little run and get us going further up the table.”
After Phillips’ performance at the Riverside Stadium, it seems unlikely that he will lose his place again if he stays fit until the end of the campaign.
The 23-year-old perhaps did not put in his best display of the campaign – though he did bag the equaliser in stoppage-time – but his performance would have reminded many fans as to why he has arguably been Leeds’ best player when used in the quarterback role.
Forshaw was sensational against Derby last month. But he has struggled to reach Phillips’ level on a consistent basis, and it would be no surprise if he was now only deployed further forward whenever he is in the side.
And it would also not be a surprise if Phillips’ return to that holding role was the catalyst that allowed Leeds to get their promotion charge back on track after a concerning run since the turn of the year.