Exclusive: Pundit shares Leeds fears after troubling Kalvin Philips news
There is no suitable replacement for the incomparable Kalvin Philips in the Leeds United squad.
That is the view of Darren Bent, speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Adam Williams about the one-of-a-kind midfielder’s one-match Premier League ban.
The England international will miss Leeds’ meeting with Brighton on 16 January having picked up his fifth yellow card of the season in Saturday’s 3-0 defeat to Spurs.
That leaves manager Marcelo Bielsa racking his brains to conjure up a solution to the tempo-setting midfielder’s absence.
Bent doesn’t believe anyone can replicate the work Philips does in midfield, especially given the demands of Marcelo Bielsa’s tactical system.
“It is a unique role, and you think who else can they get in that position who can do the job effectively. The answer to that is no one,” he told Football Insider.
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“He’s that good of a player that it’s hard to replace him. You don’t just get players like that, it’s not that easy.
“Who’ve they got to come in there? Klich’s really impressed me this season but he won’t play that role.
“Shackleton might be able to step in but the drop off would be massive.
“But what I like about Bielsa’s team is that it doesn’t necessarily come down to the player, it’s about the system. He needs every player who steps into that system to know the role.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re a top player, if you can’t do what he wants you to do, you won’t play. It’s as simple as that.”
Philips has been on the books with Leeds United since 2010 when he joined the club’s academy as a 15-year-old.
Since then, he has made just shy of 200 appearances for the club, scoring 12 goals from the base of midfield.