Arsenal 1-0 Leeds United: 5 Hits and Flops | FA Cup 2019-20
#4 Hit: Kalvin Phillips
Kalvin Phillips attracted interest aplenty last summer when Leeds faltered in the Championship playoffs, meaning another year of second-tier beckoned for the midfielder.
Premier League sides were monitoring him before but now, it's much more intense and Leeds supporters calling for him to be capped by Gareth Southgate's England have proven justified in their praise. He turned 24 last month and the versatile midfielder excelled, particularly in a first-half where Leeds should have at least scored one before the break.
Critics were again quick to highlight Mesut Özil's muted role in the first-half, but that was largely through Phillips' intelligence and discipline to man-mark the German playmaker, forcing him into ineffective areas of possession where he would record stats like these:
He knew he had to increase his workrate second-half and did so, but was against a worthy adversary who made the evening an especially difficult one. He won 10 of 15 duels contested, a game-high nine tackles, one clearance and interception to accompany his four key passes (83.8% pass success) over the 90 minutes.
Leeds currently top the Championship on goal difference from West Brom and it's essential they keep Phillips fit if they are to achieve automatic promotion in May. Not only would it set up a long-awaited Premier League return but allow Kalvin's talents - among others - to be appreciated on a wider scale across England and abroad too.Published 07 Jan 2020, 07:37 IST