By Will Butcher
Former Leeds manager Neil Redfearn has claimed that young midfielder Kalvin Phillips has the ability to become a first-team regular.
Redfearn, who is currently without a job after being sacked by Yorkshire rivals Rotherham in February, worked with the 20-year-old during his time at Leeds and also gave him his debut.
Talking to TV Yorkshire after Wednesday’s penalty shootout win against Fleetwood, the 51-year-old declared that Phillips has the ability to become a permanent fixture in the Leeds side.
“I thought Kalvin Phillips came in and had a good game,” Redfearn said, in an interview with TV Yorkshire. “No he hasn’t (played much first-team football) but the lad is more than capable.
“There’s no two ways about it. What there was about Leeds tonight was there was a freshness and legs in midfield, particularly in the second-half.”
Phillips, who is Leeds born-and-bred, made just his 13th professional appearance for the Whites since his debut against Wolves back in April 2015.
The midfielder has his work cut out though if he is to break his way into Monk’s first-team set-up, with Toumani Diagouraga, Luke Murphy, Ronaldo Vieira, Matt Grimes and Alex Mowatt all considered above him in the central midfield pecking order at Elland Road.
Leeds’ imminent signing of Sunderland’s Liam Bridcutt is also likely to push Phillips even further away from the first-team.
However, Wednesday’s performance against League One side Fleetwood will have done him no harm as Monk’s side squeezed through to the second round of the EFL Cup. They now face Luton Town, who produced a giant killing by knocking out Aston Villa.