Former England international Darren Bent has suggested that Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa should sit down and talk with star midfielder Kalvin Phillips about his ‘rashness’ in the draw with Nottingham Forest last Saturday.
The ex Tottenham Hotspur striker spoke to Football Insider about the 23-year-old’s performance and expressed how impressed he was with the tenacity and desire on show.
However, Bent fears that at times Phillips may be overstepping the mark and could end up with a number of suspensions by the time the season is out.
He said: “That aggression is brilliant in a footballer.
“That passion to win the ball is brilliant but it needs to be controlled because what you don’t want is one of your best players on risk watch. Ultimately you need him.
“Ultimately if Bielsa can sit down with him and say: ‘I love that, I never want to take that out your game but just be careful, we can’t afford to keep losing you and be a little bit careful and cautious.’”
This comes after Phillips made a bad tackle in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Nottingham Forest. He was shown just a yellow for what was a late tackle on Tiago Silva.
Last season the Leeds-born midfielder picked up nine yellow cards. He received a red card in the same fixture – against Forest – when he was dismissed for poor challenge on Adlene Guedioura.
In a way, it is understandable what Darren Bent is saying. Phillips is still young and needs to mature in terms of discipline to become an even better player than he already is.
However, this is part of the central-midfielder’s game and it’s something that makes him such an important player for Bielsa’s side.
Knowing Bielsa, if there was something he didn’t like about the way Phillips was conducting himself or his approach to going into tackles the Argentine would have probably said something to him by now.
Phillips will be a crucial player for the Whites this season, and like Bent says, it is important that he doesn’t pick up suspensions. Especially if Leeds are targeting promotion. However, there is no need to worry about his playing style just yet.