Kalvin Phillips was brought up from Leeds United’s youth academy during the 2014/15 season, and has steadily increased his impact on the first team over the past 4 seasons. In 2016, Phillips signed a new 3-year deal while becoming a full time starter for Leeds, playing in 33 matches. Coming into 2017/18, the youngster was seen as a solid defensive midfielder who could help protect Leeds’ backline.
Phillips most notably improved his offensive prowess this season, registering 7 goals and 3 assists in 41 appearances. He also completed 27 key passes, fourth on the team, which is decent, but not special for a midfielder with a high number of appearances. He also completed 72.4% of his passes, sixteenth on the team.
Cracking finish from Kalvin Phillips. A goal and an assist to his name so far today. His seventh goal of the season. #LUFC— LUFCDATA (@LUFCDATA) May 6, 2018
While he contributed offensively, his defense was certainly not worthy of a Championship caliber CDM, and his struggles noticeably hurt an already weak Leeds defense this season. The 22 year old had a tendency to foul whenever he got beat, which was quite often, as he led the team in fouls (74) and yellow cards (13, tied with Jansson). In the Championship, he was fourth in total fouls, and thirteenth in missed tackles with 68, which was also the third worst mark for a CDM. Phillips was usually not the worst player on the field, but, like many other Leeds players, suffered from a lack of consistency and tended to disappear from games, doing little to prevent goals or help the pace of the game.
It should be noted that when Leeds’ season began to go off the rails in November, so did Phillips’, as he only scored two goals and an assist in his last 27 appearances, while seeing his tackles per game drop from 3 to 2.3, and his successful dribbles per game drop from 1.79 to 1.59.
He did score this nice goal to end the season though!
Final Season Grade: C
Despite scoring several incredible goals this year, Phillips simply did not play as well as he was expected to. Because his current contract keeps him at Elland Road through 2019, Phillips should have at least one more year to prove that he can be a difference maker for The Whites. He has got to improve his tackling for next year, and it should be very interesting to see how he fits into Bielsa’s system, if at all.