Bielsa compares Kalvin Phillips' style of play to Diego Simeone

The Yorkshire… Simeone? Marcelo Bielsa compares Kalvin Phillips’ style of play to Atletico Madrid boss Diego as the England star is ‘comfortable with getting stuck in’ like the Argentina icon

  • Kalvin Phillips has been handed the nickname ‘The Yorkshire Pirlo’ by Leeds fans
  • But Marcelo Bielsa has compared the England international to Diego Simeone
  • Bielsa managed Simeone during his spell as Argentina national team manager
  • The Whites boss says both players love to get stuck in during the midfield battle

Forget the ‘Yorkshire Pirlo’, Kalvin Phillips could quite easily be the ‘Yorkshire Simeone’ for Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa.

Of course, Diego Simeone has been the mastermind behind Atletico Madrid’s decade of success in Spain and Europe, and Atletico’s use of the dark arts is a reminder of Simeone as a player.

Who will ever forget Simeone’s part in getting David Beckham sent off for England during the last-16 encounter with Argentina in St Etienne at the 1998 World Cup?

Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa (left) has compared Kalvin Phillips (right) to Diego Simeone

Bielsa (far right) managed Simeone (second left) as Argentina manager during his career

But just like the Argentine, Phillips is not afraid to make to a few tackles. In only 37 Premier League appearances, he has already racked up 11 yellow cards.

So having worked with Simeone as a player during his time as his country’s national team manager, Bielsa could appreciate those talents and he recognises some of the same attributes in the England international.

‘Yes, Phillips and Simeone have common points,’ assesses the Leeds manager. ‘They are both combustible players, comfortable with getting stuck in and contesting the midfield battle, but they both have an eye for a pass, too.’

It is impossible to underestimate Phillips’ importance to this Leeds side. They have taken one point from the three Premier League games he has missed so far this term and they lost seven of the nine games in which he was absent last season.

Bielsa described Phillips as ‘combustible’ and ‘comfortable with getting stuck in’ the midfield

While his value to England remains sky high, with Gareth Southgate again starting him as first choice for both World Cup qualifiers last week. So it is clear the 25-year-old has a big role to play if Leeds are going to avoid being stuck in a season-long battle against relegation, as they head to Tottenham this afternoon.

‘Phillips is a very good passer of the ball, short and long,’ adds Bielsa. ‘He always knows what is going on around him, he knows where his team-mates are or when he has to win the ball back from the opposition.

‘He knows how to spot danger and neutralise it and he takes good decisions on the pitch. But there are so many nuances that make him the player he is, and I’m a little bored of having to answer questions to evaluate his game. 

‘But a player like him, coming from the academy, he is the emotional link between the team and our fans and the city. They are part of that collective, which is so important.’

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