Kalvin Phillips has been a “big miss” for Leeds United in midfield against Leicester City and Crystal Palace, according to Darren Bent.
The former Premier League striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, has suggested the Whites are missing the 24-year-old’s “infectious” energy in the middle of the park.
Despite having beaten Aston Villa 3-0 without the England international, Leeds lost 4-1 to both Leicester and Palace to make it four defeats from their opening eight games.
Phillips, who has been laid off with a shoulder injury, was initially ruled out for six weeks in a grim announcement on the club’s official Twitter account but is targeting a return after the international break.
Bent admits that the midfielder’s absence has been glaringly obvious but that it is just a “bump in the road” Leeds need to overcome.
Asked if he thought it was clear Leeds were missing Phillips, Bent told Football Insider: “You could tell straight away that he was a big miss and he is a big miss because he’s arguably their best player, an international.
“Of course you’re going to miss him. He’s got that kind of infectious personality where he’s in the middle of the pitch, puts them tackles in, really gets after people, he really gets into people’s faces so of course, you’re going to miss your best player like any team would.
“As I’ve said with Leeds, they’ve just got to want to stick with it, Bielsa won’t shrug the challenge, he’ll keep it going.
“You very rarely get a season like Liverpool where everything’s just staying the same, you just kind of stroll through. There are going to be bumps in the road and Leeds are a newly promoted team so of course you’re going to have that.”
Phillips played every minute of the Whites’ opening five games and chipped in with an assist on the opening day against Liverpool.
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