Alex McLeish has admitted he has fears over Kalvin Phillips’ fitness ahead of his return to Leeds United from England duty.

The former Scotland manager, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, admitted he was concerned by the “overloading” of players playing for club and country.

The midfielder started all three of the Three Lions’ World Cup qualifiers and only failed to see out 90 minutes against Albania.

He has also been a mainstay for Leeds this term, playing the full 90 in all but two of his 21 league appearances.

However, he has only recently returned from a calf injury that forced him to miss four games in February.

The Whites return to domestic action with a Yorkshire derby against Sheffield United on Saturday.

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McLeish admitted the intense scheduling of this season was cause for concern when it comes to players’ fitness.

Asked if he was worried about the loading on players like Phillips, McLeish told Football Insider’s Russell Edge: “Totally. The overloading of games, the overloading of players’ fitness in general.

“The sports science guys analyse players and say to the manager: ‘Right, he’s played four or five in a row. He’s got an amber light next to his name and he’s heading into the red zone, we need to give him a break.’

“Back in the day, when I played international football, it was just a Wednesday night. Then we were back up to Aberdeen the next morning. We were with the squad from the weekend, played the Wednesday, that was it.

“Now there’s like two games and it’s almost a two-week schedule. International managers will want to try and train the players to a degree but there’s a liaison with the clubs.

“‘What do I need to do with him, can I do this in training? Will I get the best out of him if I don’t train him?’ There are all these conundrums.  

“For me, the pandemic has made the situation very, very tough on players and terms of their fitness.”

In other news, Leeds United are planning a blockbuster new contract for a top talent.