Liam Cooper has been offering his thoughts on Kalvin Phillips’ nasty edge, with the Leeds United skipper admitting the midfielder’s rash challenge that earned him a red card at QPR might’ve come even if the Whites were winning.
Leeds were in a bad patch of form at the start of 2020, with Marcelo Bielsa’s side surrendering a heavy lead and allowing the likes of Fulham, Nottingham Forest and Brentford to claw their way back into automatic promotion contention.
That poor run of form was partly down to the absence of Phillips for three games, with the 24-year-old missing out in the win over Millwall, plus defeats to Wigan Athletic and Nottingham Forest.
That came on the back of a rash challenge in Leeds’ defeat to QPR, where Phillips lunged into a challenge with Geoff Cameron to earn himself a straight red card; tensions had been boiling since Nahki Wells’ controversial opener, whilst Patrick Bamford added to frustrations with a penalty miss.
Sitting down with Sky Sports during this period of lockdown, Cooper offered his verdict on the January fixture, with the skipper holding a balanced view of things.
He revealed: “I couldn’t look at him when he got sent off!
“But I think, even if we were 1-0 up, Kalvin would still make that tackle. If you take that part out of his game you take out a lot of him. He plays on the edge sometimes, and that’s like some of the best players in the world.
“It can be a very good attribute to have.”
Since Phillips’ return, Leeds are unbeaten in six and on a five game winning streak, which has pulled them back to the top of the table and in a commanding position to go on and win automatic promotion.
QUIZ: Can you name every Leeds United player’s shirt number?
Cooper is right with what he says: this kind of tackle is part of Phillips’ game and, on another day, he times it perfectly and wins everything.
Yet, it did cost Leeds for a few weeks and at the point of the Nottingham Forest defeat, everything looking to be slipping through the club’s fingers.
He’s helped put the club’s season back on track since then, however, with Leeds in a strong position and looking to kick on when the season can resume.
Thoughts? Let us know!