By Alex McLeish

21st Aug, 2021 | 7:45am

McLeish: Phillips 'huge miss' for Leeds after Bielsa update pre-Everton clash

Alex McLeish has insisted Kalvin Phillips was a “huge miss” for Leeds United after sitting out against Manchester United.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Scotland manager dubbed the 25-year-old a “talisman” for Marcelo Bielsa’s men.

As quoted by BBC Radio Leeds’ Adam Pope (August 19th), Bielsa confirmed Phillips is “getting closer” to returning to the starting XI.

Phillips was an unused substitute for the 5-1 loss at Old Trafford.

Notably, the Argentine boss revealed he did not think it necessary to give the midfielder game time in the under-23s’ win over Crystal Palace on Monday.

Bielsa has often given senior players run-outs for the reserves after injuries to build up match fitness.

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McLeish insisted Phillips has a “terrific role” to play for Leeds this season.

He suggested the midfielder could have helped “direct” his teammates against Manchester United.

McLeish told Football Insider’s Russell Edge: “I do think he was a huge miss.

“It does go to show what happens when key players are missing from teams.

“No matter whether they are small teams or teams tipped to win the leagues and the cups, you still miss talismans.

“Philips was obviously a talisman last year for them. Not just as a one-off, he’s a terrific player and he has a terrific role to play.

“He could have directed some of his players (v Manchester United).”

Bielsa started Robin Koch as a makeshift defensive midfielder against Manchester United.

Pascal Struijk has also filled in when Phillips has been unavailable.

In other news, “really exciting” Leeds United teenager tipped for first-team role after Bielsa reveal.