Kalvin Mark Phillips (born 2 December 1995) is an English professional footballer who plays for Leeds United as a central midfielder. He plays mainly as a defensive midfielder and can also play as a centre back.
Kalvin Phillips progressed throughout the Leeds United's youth ranks, Leeds-born Phillips signed his first professional deal with Leeds United in the summer of 2014, retaining him for the 2014–15 season.
During the 2014–15 season, Phillips became the captain of the Development team and Under 18's team. Phillips joined the first team for the trip to Sunderland in the FA Cup third round on 4 January 2015; he was unused substitute in a 1–0 defeat. On 30 March 2015, Leeds Academy coach Jason Blunt revealed that he felt the form of Phillips for the Under 18's and Development Squad would see Phillips become a future first team fans favourite.
Phillips made further appearances on the bench for the first team in league games over the following months before making his professional debut against Wolverhampton Wanderers in 4–3 defeat on 6 April 2015. Along with Sam Byram, Charlie Taylor, Alex Mowatt and Lewis Cook; Phillips was the latest graduate of a promising group of Academy players to regularly feature under former youth boss Neil Redfearn in the 2014–15 campaign.
On 11 April 2015, Phillips retained his position in the Leeds starting 11, making his home debut against Cardiff City at Elland Road. Phillips marked the game with his first senior goal in only his second appearance, although the match finished in a 2–1 defeat to Cardiff. At the end of the season, he was offered and accepted a new two-year contract.
On 31 July 2015, Phillips was given the number 27 shirt for the upcoming 2015–16 season. However, with Redfearn replaced as head coach during the summer, Phillips played just 10 league games over the course of the season under head coaches Uwe Rosler and then Steve Evans.
In June 2016, only days after the appointment of new head coach Garry Monk, highly rated Phillips was offered a new 3-year contract at Leeds. On 23 June, Phillips signed the new 3-year contract extension to stay at the club until the summer of 2019.
On 27 August 2016, Phillips scored his first goal of the 2016–17 season, with a stunning long range free kick against Nottingham Forest in a 3–1 defeat.
Phillips' impressive form for Leeds saw him win the EFL Championship Young Player Of The Month Award for October 2016. On 9 December 2016, Phillips was given his first professional red card after giving away a penalty in a 2–0 defeat against then league leaders Brighton & Hove Albion by turning away a goal-bound shot with his arm, the penalty was converted by Glenn Murray. On 7 March 2017, Phillips received his 2nd red card of the season in a 1–1 draw against Fulham.
On 6 August 2017, the opening day of the 2017–18 Championship season, Phillips scored a brace to ensure Leeds beat Bolton Wanderers 3–2. On 9 September he scored his third goal of the season in the match against Burton Albion. His fifth of the season, came on 27 October 2017 in a 1–2 defeat in the Yorkshire Derby against Sheffield United.
He started the season partnering O'Kane in the heart of Leeds' midfield, however after a good start to the season, Leeds suffered a lack of form prior to the sacking of head coach Thomas Christiansen in February 2018, with Phillips and O'Kane finding little spells in and out the side with Vieira given more opportunities and the arrival of January 2018 signing Adam Forshaw.
He ended the season with 7 goals and 3 assists, which represented his best scoring season of his career so far.
On 19 July 2018, Phillips revealed he had been training as a centre back and a deep-lying playmaker ahead of the 2018–19 season, as part of new Head Coach Marcelo Bielsa's tactics. As the season started, he was deployed as the holding midfielder in a 4–1–4–1 formation.
On 22 August, he made his 100th senior appearance for Leeds in a 2–2 draw against Swansea City. Phillips was utilised as a deep-lying defensive midfielder for Leeds under Bielsa, Phillps also would play as a centre back if Leeds' lined up in a 3-man defence. In October 2018, his impressive form in his new position's under Bielsa's management, saw Phillips briefly linked with a possible call up to Gareth Southgate's England national team. After a knee injury to Captain Liam Cooper on 1 December 2018 in a 1–0 win against Sheffield United, Phillips deputised several games playing as an outright centre back until Coopers return in mid-January.
After returning to his defensive midfielder position, he scored his first goal of the season in Leeds' 1–1 draw against Middlesbrough on 9 February 2019, with Phillips scoring the equaliser in the 11th minute of injury time.
In March 2019 he was selected to the EFL 2018–19 Championship Team of the Season. On 4 May 2019, Phillips was named the Yorkshire Evening Post Player of the Year for the 2018/19 season.
During the 2018–19 Leeds United F.C. season, Phillips played 46 games in all competitions, scoring 1 goal, after Leeds finished the regular season in third place after dropping out of the automatic promotion places with 3 games left after a defeat to 10 man Wigan Athletic on 19 April, Leeds qualified for the playoffs, Phillips started the playoffs fixtures versus sixth-placed Derby County, despite Leeds taking a 1–0 win at Pride Park into the home leg at Elland Road, Leeds lost 2–4 in the 2nd leg, with Leeds down to 10 men after the red card of Gaetano Berardi, and saw Derby progress to the final against Aston Villa 3–4 on aggregate.
In July 2019, after being linked with a move to newly promoted Premier League side Aston Villa, with Leeds putting a £30 million transfer valuation on Phillips, Leeds opened contract talks with Phillips over a new contract. On 8 August 2019, it was revealed that Leeds had rejected bids for Phillips during the 2019 transfer window in order to keep him at the club, with bids for Phillips rejected around the £27 million pound mark.
In September 2019, he signed a new 5-year contract with Leeds. On Leeds United's centenary week, Phillips scored the winning goal against Birmingham City, with the game finishing 1–0 which took place in front of another large crowd at Elland Road.
In November 2019, Phillips' Leeds form in defensive midfield under Marcelo Bielsa saw calls for him to be called up to the England national team squad. On 6 January 2020, Phillips was heavily praised for his performance against Premier League side Arsenal in a 1–0 defeat in the FA Cup. England manager Gareth Southgate watched Phillips in January 2020 ahead of a possible call up. On 18 January, Phillips was sent off against Q.P.R. in a 1–0 defeat.
Style of play
After starting his career as a box-to-box central midfielder, before the start of the 2018/19 season Phillips was converted into a defensive midfielder by Marcelo Bielsa. He is known for his range of short sharp passing, long ball distribution and ability to start attacks whilst covering his defensive duties, with him described as a 'linchpin'.
Marcelo Bielsa described his style "He's very good at getting the ball and putting it into another space, a better space. He's very good when he has to cover the team when our full-backs go in attack. And when we are outnumbered, he is very good with his defending." Phillips was also converted into playing as a centre back under Bielsa.
For his similar style of play, Phillips was given the nickname "Yorkshire Pirlo" by Leeds fans in homage to the former deep-lying playmaker Andrea Pirlo.
- As of match played 9 July 2020
|Club||Season||League||FA Cup||EFL Cup||Other||Total|
- EFL Young Player of the Month: October 2016
- EFL Team of the Year: 2018–19 Championship
- Yorkshire Evening Post Player of the Year: 2018–19