The last thing Leeds needs as they chase automatic promotion are injuries. The club have confirmed centre-back Pontus Jansson will be out for three weeks, but Kalvin Phillips can be the man to slot in and guide the Whites towards the Premier League.
It’s fair to say Jansson’s been key to the position Leeds find themselves in now. They had a wobble against Sheffield United but their form across the season has put them in a good place to head for promotion and the 28-year-old has been solid throughout.
Kalvin Phillips has also been influential to the Whites form, playing 34 times in defensive midfield, which is one tough job in a Marcelo Bielsa team. He’s also played centre-back 12 times, with Leeds winning nine, drawing one and lost just two.
Both Jansson and Phillips have had to defend large spaces with their team dominating play in most games, and that’s much harder than being part of a compact unit. They’re now used to coming up against attacks playing to exploit this are are better at preventing danger than they have been all season.
This defensive responsibility handed to Phillips in both roles makes him the perfect man to fit into Jansson’s spot while he’s recovering. He’s been a constant in Bielsa’s side and knows the defence and its potential weaknesses better than any bit-part player that can be brought into the frame.
His technical ability will also help Leeds pass out of tight spaces and build up attacks from the back. He’s been praised numerous times by his manager this season, so it’s clear Bielsa sees potential in him defensively, so why not allow him to dictate play while sitting in the back line.
The manager’s philosophy, ideally, has defenders spreading the ball from left to right, pushed up near the halfway line. Having Phillips there could plug the gap but also provide the back line with more on-the-ball confidence to win promotion back to the Premier League.
Leeds fans, who do you think should replace Pontus Jansson at centre-back, and why? Join the discussion by commenting below.
Click here to comment on this articleor
Give us feedback on your Football Transfer Tavern experience