Kalvin Phillips suffered a frustrating shoulder injury during the Wolves defeat originally confirmed by the club as a six-week setback, but now he’s aiming to be out no more than a month.
Ever since Marcelo Bielsa took charge, Kalvin Phillips has been the most important player in the Leeds squad, sitting deep in holding midfield and becoming one of the most sought-after Englishmen in the league.
With every club he has managed, Bielsa has looked to a strong midfielder with a great range of passing to control possession and dictate the tempo of the game, and he has transformed Phillips from a much-maligned squad player to an England international.
His importance has been noted even more so when he’s been unavailable through injury and suspension.
During the Monday night defeat to Wolves, Phillips was caught in a strong challenge with Raul Jimenez in the second half, resulting in a foul and a hefty knock to the Leeds man’s shoulder.
While Phillips played-on at centre-back to relieve some of the stress on an already injury-plagued defence, it was revealed the following day that Phillips was set to be out for six weeks.
However, since then, Bielsa has reiterated in his pre-match press conference that this initial assessment is ‘not accurate’ and he could be out for a longer or shorter period, depending on his recovery process.
The Athletic have now reported that the 24-year-old is aiming to make his return against Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal in just under a month’s time (21st November).
That assessment cuts down his recovery time from six weeks to around four and would be a huge boost for Leeds, meaning he only misses three games against Aston Villa, Leicester City and Crystal Palace.
Having Phillips out for a Championship game was a massive blow, and we’ll just have to see how much it weakens us in the Premier League.
Phillips missed the last three games of last season and Struijk stepped in, proving he is definitely the heir to that position if Phillips can’t play for whatever reason.
He has a very similar range of passing with both feet and is a naturally strong defender, but also with a great aerial presence, something that we lack in Phillips sometimes.
A return in around a month is a massive boost compared to being potentially six weeks and more, and the sooner he can get back in the team, the better.