Kalvin Phillips’ shoulder injury sustained during Monday night’s defeat to Wolves is not as bad as first feared, as confirmed by Marcelo Bielsa.
Leeds United returned from the international break looking to continue their fine work of two wins and a draw from their previous three games.
They faced a Wolves side eager to put their inconsistencies behind them in the first four games by notching back-to-back wins.
It was a cagey affair at Elland Road on Monday as both sides took control in different stages of the match, with the hosts dominating early proceedings before relinquishing control after the interval.
Wolves star Raul Jimenez scored the game’s only goal thanks to a touch of fortune when his tame effort took a huge deflection off Kalvin Phillips into the opposite corner.
It wasn’t the greatest night for Kalvin Phillips whose passing wasn’t up to scratch but his evening was compounded when the club confirmed he was to be ruled out for up to six weeks with a shoulder injury, sustained in a strong challenge from Jimenez.
However, with Aston Villa up next for the Whites, Marcelo Bielsa has corrected this assessment in his pre-match press conference.
Speaking to the media, Bielsa said (via Adam Pope) that this six-week verdict was ‘not accurate’ and confirmed that Dutch defender Pascal Struijk is set to step into holding midfield in Phillips’ place.
With injuries at the back piling up, some welcome news on Struijk’s availability allayed some of the earlier fears ahead of the trip to Villa Park…
Struijk’s performances in holding midfield have been nothing short of marvellous in the Championship run-in, so I have the utmost faith in this decision.
The versatility of our back line is a key reason for why Bielsa didn’t want too much depth, because key players can shuffle to accommodate different injury setbacks when needed.
The Dutchman’s performance against Wolves was more proof of his first-team credentials and he’ll be looking to prove this even more at Villa Park.
It won’t be an easy game with Villa’s midfield their strongest area at the moment, but I have no doubt that Struijk is up to the task in place of Phillips.