Former Leeds United defender Danny Mills believes Kalvin Phillips could need a mid-season rest or risk burnout as the campaign goes on, comparing the situation to how Sir Alex Ferguson operated in Manchester.
The Lowdown: Outstanding 12 months for Phillips
Phillips’ stock has risen hugely in the last year, with the midfielder not only excelling in the Premier League for Leeds but also starring for England.
The 25-year-old was exceptional throughout the Three Lions’ Euro 2020 campaign, helping them reach the final as he started every single match for Gareth Southgate.
The Latest: Pundit makes claim regarding midfielder
Phillips has played a lot of football in recent times, however, and it is important that Leeds keep him as fresh as possible ahead of the new season.
Speaking to Football Insider, Mills claimed that Marcelo Bielsa should consider giving his key man a breather before Christmas:
“It’s not very long at all but that’s what it is. You’re now into the season and you’re going ‘This is it.’ The 14th of August is when it starts.
“Sadly you’re only going to get two or three weeks off if you go deep into a tournament.
“It’s not so much physically, it’s mentally. Not at the start because you’re straight into games which is fine. The hardest part is October, November when all of a sudden you’ve been playing football constantly for 18 months.
“The nights start to draw in and mentally you start to get drained. Sir Alex Ferguson often used to give his players a week off around November time because that’s when you start to pick up injuries.
“Leeds will have to manage that. If he needs a week off around that sort of time then they’ll have to give him it because that’s what he’ll need.”
The Verdict: Does he have a point?
While having Phillips available for every game next season sounds ideal, it may make sense to give him a little time off at some point.
Bielsa’s style of play demands incredible fitness levels, and if Phillips drops off slightly in that respect, it may stand out noticeably given his importance to the team.
A short break could do him the world of good, and in an ideal world, the club will have secured a like for like player in the transfer market – like the often linked Nahitan Nandez – who can deputise if and when the England superstar requires some recovery time.
In other news, Leeds have been tipped to sign a player who shone in the Premier League last season. Find out who it is here.
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