Noel Whelan has claimed it was a “huge mistake” for Marcelo Bielsa to axe Kalvin Phillips for Leeds United’s Bank Holiday Monday defeat to Brentford.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former United striker revealed he was left scratching his head at the shock omission of the central midfielder for the pivotal Championship clash.
Phillips was an unused substitute as Leeds lost 2-0 at Griffin Park to leave their automatic promotion hopes in tatters.
“It was a huge mistake to leave him out,” Whelan said. “For me, Kalvin Phillips has been one of our best players this season. He has been consistent and has that aggression and tenacity you need in the middle of the pitch in these kind of games.
“I guarantee you the first goal would not have happened if Kalvin had been on the pitch. That ball would not have been on, as he would have been in position to cut it out.”
Phillips was replaced in the Leeds starting XI by Adam Forshaw, who lined up behind Mateusz Klich and Tyler Roberts.
“I thought Forshaw did okay, but Kalvin gives you security and protection to the defence,” Whelan added to Football Insider. “You need these kind of players and it made no sense to leave him. It was a headscratcher from Bielsa.”
Phillips has been a key man in Leeds’ promotion-chasing campaign and was named in the official EFL team of the season for the consistency of his performances.
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