One of Leeds United’s leading journalists suggests that West Ham fans will not understand just how good Kalvin Phillips is until they see him in action.
Not too long ago, England’s two best defensive midfielders were both playing outside of the ‘big 6’. In the Summer of 2021, Kalvin Phillips and Declan Rice took the European Championships by storm. They were without a doubt the best performing players in the whole squad. Only a couple of years later, Phillips had left Leeds for Manchester City and Declan Rice ended up leaving West Ham for Arsenal.
While the latter has adapted to life at a ‘bigger’ club with ease, Phillips has struggled to find any sort of consistent minutes under Pep Guardiola. This has led to him joining the Hammers on loan, a signing which Leeds United expert Phil Hay believes will work out excellently.
“West Ham are getting an elite midfielder, there’s no doubt about that,” Hay told the official site. “I really think that some of his key attributes – his switches of play, his diagonal passes and his physicality – will work well for a David Moyes team.”
“It would strike me that in West Ham’s line-up as I understand it, he will fit in as part of a midfield two, in front of the defence. I’d imagine you’ll see his ability to hit runners going forward, so when the team falls deep and sucks the opposition in, he’ll be looking to unleash the likes of Jarrod Bowen and Mohammed Kudus at the top end of the field.”
“You’ll also see his brilliant defensive prowess, back at the other end. When he’s on form he’s a massive asset in a protective sense – he almost acts like an extra line of defence in front of the back four, which is where he proved to be so important for Leeds.”
The midfielder’s best form was found under manager Bielsa and his performances certainly warranted a big move, but Hay believes that he was never really given a chance to find his feet under Pep.
“I think Phillips will have started at City quite philosophical about the fact Rodri was there, and that he might not necessarily play all the time. But, I understand that as time went on, he found the idea of being seen as someone at a huge club, earning really well and not really contributing, quite difficult.”
“I think Phillips will be ready and hungry to play far more for West Ham, particularly with one eye on the upcoming European Championships.”
As West Ham fans have been quick to realise, they are not just getting a great player but “a very good guy” on top of that. Hay states that no one has “had a bad word to say about him” wherever he’s gone, with Bielsa having “soft spot” for the Hammers new No.11.
“He’s laid back, but I think sometimes that might disguise his professionalism and ambition. I’m sure he’s relishing this opportunity at West Ham, and for all the Hammers fans out there I think it’s a massively exciting signing.”
Based on what we have seen already, Phillips is exactly the type of person that will be adored by the East London faithful. His attitude, positivity and hard work shine through in every interview – not to mention the sensational player he is.
Hopefully, his time in claret and blue will help him find his feet again, potentially leading to a permanent signing. Off the pitch he has conducted himself perfectly, now it is time to see if he will emulate that on the pitch.