Leeds should re-sign 28-year-old former academy ace to replace midfield hothead
COMMENT By Will Butcher
Leeds should explore the possibility of bringing former captain Jonny Howson back to Elland Road as Kalvin Phillips continues to struggle with discipline.
Phillips, 21, received his second red card in just 18 Championship starts against Fulham on Tuesday night, as he failed to keep a lid on his emotions during the 1-1 draw.
His sending off had a direct effect on the game, with Fulham equalising in the 96th minute as Leeds were slow in closing Tom Cairney down before he found the top corner from 20 yards out.
Beginning to prove detrimental to the squad after being sent off in the 2-0 loss to Brighton as well, Phillips should be replaced by a calmer, more experienced midfield head.
Bringing boyhood Leeds fan Howson back to Elland Road would provide Monk with not only maturity in the middle of the park, but a more methodical approach to discipline.
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Howson has been sent off just four times in 397 career appearances, a ratio that is a lot cleaner than Phillips’ two red cards in 44 Leeds outings.
Aside from Howson’s control when it comes to aggression, the Norwich City midfielder would provide Monk with Premier League experience in midfield as Leeds eye promotion.
Born in Yorkshire, playing back in front of the Elland Road support could also bring the best out of the former England Under-21 international.
During his days as a Leeds youth player, Howson was a striker in the Thorp Arch academy and that eye for goal has not drifted from his game despite playing in a deeper midfield role.
This season, Howson has scored six goals as well as laying on another six assists in 28 league and cup appearances, taking his career tally to 50 goals.
Leeds four central midfield options have managed just two goals all season in Liam Bridcutt, Ronaldo Vieira, Eunan O’Kane and Phillips.
The signing of Howson, then, would add an extra dimension to Leeds squad as pressure on top scorer Chris Wood continues to mount.
Before moving to Norwich in 2007, Howson made a huge 219 appearances for Leeds but Monk should look to bring him back and help him add to that total in place of Phillips.
In other Leeds transfer news, a major transfer development has occurred in the Whites’ pursuit of this 33-time international defender.