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Leeds: Jamie Redknapp says ‘something isn’t right’ between Kalvin Phillips and Marcelo Bielsa


Jamie Redknapp believes ‘something isn’t right’ between Kalvin Phillips and Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa.

Phillips was brought in as a centre-back instead of his usual midfield position when Leeds faced Brighton on Saturday.

However, Bielsa chose to eliminate Phillips at halftime, while Pascal Struijk came into the fight. The match ended in a goalless draw.

Jamie Redknapp says something isn’t right between Kalvin Phillips and Marcelo Bielsa

Phillips had also been used on defense last weekend, albeit as part of a back-three, against Tottenham and appeared somewhat frustrated with the situation in his post-match interview.

Redknapp believes Phillips will not want to play as a central defender for Leeds given his status as a midfielder for England.

In addition, the pundit stated that ‘big clubs’ are courting Phillips, with Manchester United among the teams associated with the 25-year-old.

Redknapp said on Sky Sports: “I think something is not quite right. He was definitely detailed to play in defense but I saw him drift into midfield.

“I listened to the interview he did after the Tottenham game, where he had to hold back a few times. He is an English midfielder, he does not want to play as a defender.

Bielsa put Phillips as a centre-back against Brighton before knocking him out at halftime

Bielsa put Phillips as a centre-back against Brighton before knocking him out at halftime

“Sometimes it has to be necessary, where you have to do what’s best for the team, but at the moment Leeds have other defenders who can do the job.

“He wants to do the work he does for England, which comes with frustration and to some extent ego.

“He will know now, after the European Championship, people are talking about him, big clubs are courting him, people want him, he doesn’t want to play centre-back for Leeds.”

Leeds are 17th in the Premier League and can be prepared for a battle to avoid relegation.

Redknapp stressed that it is important that Bielsa does not get into an argument with his players at this stage.

He said, ‘That’s an interesting one. It feels like there is definitely a clash between him and Bielsa now.

Redknapp says it's important the Leeds manager doesn't argue with his players

Redknapp says it’s important the Leeds manager doesn’t argue with his players

“If I were Bielsa, arguing with players is not the right choice if the results are bad. This could be the start of something not quite right in Leeds.”

Bielsa explained his decision to withdraw Phillips and said Struijk was more suited to the challenge Brighton posed.

Bielsa told Sky Sports: “It was a change because I thought Pascal [Struijk] fit the game better.

“The playing position he had had a lot in common with Tottenham and I thought forming the back four with Llorente, Phillips, Cooper and Firpo would help us neutralize them.

“We started the game like that, but it wasn’t the right decision. Phillips then moved to midfield and it is very likely that the adjustment did not help Kalvin as he played well as a central defender.

‘But I maintain that it was not about the names, but about the function together.’

It was the second game in a row that Phillips started as centre-back for Leeds

It was the second game in a row that Phillips started as centre-back for Leeds

After the defeat to Tottenham, Phillips said he wasn’t sure why Bielsa played him in the center back.

Phillips told Sky Sports: “I don’t know why he did it, we wanted to be a little more defensive. We had to go to Son and me and (Liam) Cooper tried to flag him.

“It worked well in the first half and parts of the second half, but we lacked concentration in some parts of the game.”

Phillips has previously received much praise for his midfield performance for Leeds and the academy product has made over 200 appearances for the club since his debut in 2015.

He now has 19 caps for England and was particularly impressive at Euro 2020 when Gareth Southgate’s side reached the Euro 2020 final.


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