Kalvin Phillips’ withdrawal from the England squad could be a ‘crucial’ boost to Leeds United, former Whites forward Noel Whelan has claimed.
Phillips pulled out of the squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Andorra and Hungary with a calf strain. However, the injury is thought to be minor and he apparently has ‘a good chance’ of being fit for Leeds’ clash with Southampton after the international break.
The 25-year-old is a key player for Marcelo Bielsa’s side. Since they were promoted to the Premier League in 2020, he has missed just 10 games through injury, and Leeds have only managed to win two of them. The defensive midfielder also has the second-highest tackling average in the Whites’ squad, illustrating his importance in stifling the opposition.
Whelan has said that, while Phillips will be disappointed to miss an opportunity to represent his country, the break could benefit him in the long run as it will give him the chance ‘to get his body recovered and rested’ after a demanding year which saw him play every game for England at Euro 2020.
“This seems to me more of a precaution than anything too serious,” the 46-year-old told Football Insider. “You’ve got to commend the national side and Gareth Southgate for not pushing the player.”
He later added: “It’s disappointing for personal reasons for Kalvin, I’m sure he’d like to get another two caps underneath his belt.
“At the same time, the longevity of this season and him being fit is more crucial to both Leeds United and England.”
He concluded: “This might be a good two weeks for him just to get his body recovered and rested. Just give him that opportunity to heal and what he needs to go back into a busy section of the season.”
Whether you agree with Whelan here depends on your view of an injury lay-off. Should it be considered a ‘rest’?
On the one hand, Phillips won’t be undergoing that intense training/playing routine for a period, but might that actually hurt him fitness-wise?
Either way, it would be good to see international managers offer occasional breaks to the players who have been worked the hardest, especially when the fixtures should be fairly straightforward.
In other news, this Leeds midfielder has been tipped to seize his chance
Click here to comment on this articleor
Give us feedback on your Football Transfer Tavern experience