Part three of our look at how the players fared individually this season. This time we will look at the central midfielders. Part four will be wide players, part five the strikers.
Starting out really strong with the player of the season in my opinion. The transformation of Kalvin Phillips under Marcelo Bielsa has been nothing short of remarkable. Dropping into the role of the deepest midfielder in Leeds 4-1-4-1 has been so successful for him that Leeds United fans describe that role as the “Phillips Role”.
Although his goals/assists have dropped off in comparison with last year with his deeper role, he has quickly developed into one of the most impressive players in the Championship. Leading to talk (importantly outside of Leeds circles) that he may be close to an England call-up.
His ability to regain possession has been really impressive, in the end he had 321 ball recoveries at 7.30 recoveries per match. This being a key factor in Leeds ability to regain the ball and counter quickly along with his 82.1% pass completion.
Keeping Kalvin Phillips is the most important thing this summer, absolutely crucial.#LUFC— Ramblings ⚪ (@ramblingsaltv) May 23, 2019
Adding to this tremendous performance level he gains a lot of credit for his adaptability, playing as a centre-back in formations with either 2 or 3 CBs and looking comfortable doing so. One of the biggest improvements I have ever seen from one season to another. Leeds miss him when unavailable more than any other player in the squad.
Season Highlight: Had better games, but his 101st minute equaliser away at Middlesbrough was a great moment.
Season Lowlight: Stupid red card away at Nottingham Forest was a costly misjudgement.
Overall Rating for season: 9/10
Has proved Thomas Christiansen so wrong by having a tremendous season, starting all 48 league games after spending the second half of last season at Utrecht. 10 goals and 9 assists is a tremendous return from centre midfield. Averaged 5.67 ball recoveries and was good in the tackle when at his best.
Had a very visible drop off in form for about 6 weeks from before Christmas to the match away at Rotherham in late January. Sometimes suffered from having played so much football. Scored some really excellent goals, the pick of which came away at Sheffield Wednesday.
Season Highlight: There are a few, but his goal on the opening day against Stoke City gave Leeds fans a sudden realisation that something big was happening at Leeds.
Season Lowlight: One of many who were really poor at the Hawthorns against West Bromwich Albion, not had many really stand out poor performances.
Overall Rating for season: 8/10
Gets a lot of stick - some of it deserved, some of it undeserved - but ultimately suffers from not being Kalvin Phillips or Mateusz Klich. Passes the ball well but doesn’t seem to cause as much danger with it as the rivals for the central midfield positions. At his best he can be a really good player at this level but we haven’t seen enough of his best this season. Started this season with an injury and picked up a couple more through the season which won’t have helped him, hopefully has a full pre-season which could help him.
Season Highlight: Performance at home to Derby was excellent. The first half of that game he was as good as anyone has been in a Leeds shirt this season.
Season Lowlight: Another from Forest away, he was horrendous that day.
Overall Rating for season: 6/10
Made the big break into the first team this season. he split his time between playing at right-back and in central midfield and looked every bit ready for the first team at all times. Says a lot for his level of performance that it is considered to be one of Bielsa’s few errors that he didn’t get more time on the pitch. Managed to get a couple of assists in his 595 minutes of the pitch, passed the ball well and used his pace to press well.
Season Highlight: Thrown in at late notice for his first start away at Swansea and played very well, laying on a great assist for Kemar Roofe.
Season Lowlight: His worst performances were just quiet ones off the bench, nothing massively sticks out.
Overall Rating for season: 6/10
A massively creative force in the first half of the season although this wasn’t backed up but his no goals and four assists in the league (did score against Bolton in the League Cup). Brought so much to Leeds in the final third both with his skill and movement and also (possibly more importantly) his ability to draw opposing defenders to him.
Once he had decided to leave he was dropped but there were several matches where he came off the bench to improve Leeds performance. Did have some games where he was a long way from his best but Leeds missed him in the second half of the season despite his heart not being in his performances this season.
Season Highlight: His start to the season. In the 3-1 win against Stoke and the 4-1 win at Derby County he was absolutely brilliant.
Season Lowlight: The way he left.
Overall Rating for season: 6.5/10
Agreed. The fact Saiz averaged 0.21 assists per game and we scored 1.58 goals per game with him in the side speaks volumes.— LUFCDATA (@LUFCDATA) June 4, 2019
Could forget that he was here fairly easily but he played 223 minutes over 11 matches. No goals or assists and when he was given opportunities to start he was usually removed at half-time. Pass completion wasn’t bad but only recovered the ball three times over his minutes on the pitch which is really poor considering the pressing system Leeds employ.
Overall Rating for season: 4/10
Played 11 minutes over 2 matches. As much of a waste of a loan signing as you could have. Did score a few goals for the u23s but only young players owned by Leeds can get any credit for that.
Overall Rating for season: 2/10
Tyler Roberts did play most of his football as a number 10, but I will put him in with the forwards to even out the articles.