After a long wait, Manchester city on the 4th of July 2022 have announced the signing of former leeds united defensive midfielder Kalvin Phillips.
It is no news how vastly he was wanted by the former premier League champions since the departure of 37-year-old brazilian midfielder Fernadinho.
After two-three months of talks, the Yorkshire Pirlo finally agreed to join Manchester City for £42M after rejecting offers from other clubs. When asked what made him sign for Manchester City, here’s what he had to say.
To be able to play under Pep and learn from him and his coaching staff as well as be part of a such a fantastic squad is a prospect that I am incredibly excited about. #ManCity are a world-class Club with world-class staff and facilities…
He also admitted that it’d be hard to break into this current Manchester City side but he’s sure of one thing and that is; he’s going to be Hardworking – Humble – Determined – Passionate and Happy.
In this article, we’d take a deep dive into the early days of Kalvin Phillips and we’d also look at how he can fit into Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City side.
Earlys days of the Yorkshire Pirlo
Phillips is a 26 years old whose life certainly revolved around Leeds. The former Leeds united player was born at West Yorkshire in Leeds, after which he attended Farnley academy during his secondary school years; which is also in Leeds.
Phillips played football at local club level back in 2003 where he played for Club Wortley for 7 years before joining Leeds united academy aged 14. The English man thereafter signed his first professional contract for the club in the summer of 2014, against the 2014/15 season.
The England international was then named captain of the development and under-18’s team. He featured in the first team at intervals; like their FA cup trip to Sunderland on the 4th of January 2015 where Leeds united were defeated 1-0 by the home side. He also made other appearances every now and then for the first team.
Phillips eventually made his professional debut on the 6th of April in 2015 in a 4–3 defeat to Wolverhampton wanderers, alongside other graduates from the Leeds united academy; after which he retained his position in the Leeds united starting eleven.
He made his home debut at Elland road stadium against Cardiff city where he marked the match with his first goal in just his second appearance. Although the team was defeated 2-1 by the away side, Phillips did have an impressive debut and that performance was a sign of things to come.
As Phillips on the 31st of July 2015, signed a new 2 year deal and got the number (27) against the upcoming season, but for lack of paradigm in who managed the team, the England international saw himself make just 10 appearances over the course of the season under Uwe Rosler and Steve Evans.
In June of 2016, Kalvin Phillips signed a new 3 years contract only after the signing of new head coach Gary Monk, this was definitely an insight to Phillips that he was part of the plans of the new manager(Gary).
This must have served as a catalyst to the confidence of the England international, as it saw him gain an impressive form, and as well, contributing goals to the team; like the long range free-kick he scored in the team’s 3-1 defeat to Nottingham forest.
Furthermore, Phillips was able to establish himself, and gain presence in Leeds united starting 11. This impressive run of form did not go unnoticed; Philips was credited with the young player of the month award for October 2016.
Manchester City’s new signing Kalvin Phillips goes through a patchy spell in his career
Although, every success story comes with its down moments, Phillips saw himself get sent off after giving away a penalty by turning away a goal bound shot with his arm.
The penalty was eventually converted by Glenn Murray as Leeds were defeated 2-0 by the then league leaders Brighton & Hove Albion.
Kalvin scored a couple more important goals, like the brace he scored on the opening day of the 2017/18 championship campaign. His two goals helped Leeds united secure a 3-2 win against their opponents Bolton wanderers.
Leeds, had a good start to the championship campaign, with Phillips alongside Eunan O’kane or Ronaldo Vieira partnering in the midfield.
A good start certainly does not guarantee an exceptional campaign; Leeds united hit a rock and were on a poor run of form; going 7 matches without a win.
It led to the dismissal of their head coach Thomas Christiansen, which led to O’kane and Phillips playing at intervals, and with the arrival of Adam Foreshaw in the midfield, Vieira saw more playing time.
The season ended with Philips netting 7 goals, and creating 3 others summing up to 10 goal creations, with that being his best scoring season.
What Does Man City’s new signing Kalvin Philips Bring To Manchester City
Manchester city’s manager (Pep Guardiola) on quite a number of occasions has expressed his admiration for one of his managerial idols; former Leeds united manager (Marcelo Bielsa). Only 8 months after Guardiola met with Bielsa in may of 2012, in Madrid, he accepted a job as reserve-team coach at Barcelona.
Pep’s admiration for the 65-year-old, is deeply rooted in his ability to advance players from larva stages of play to master stages where they can fit into his way of football, thereby having a lasting impact on their careers.
The Spaniard has since then won 24 major trophies; being one of the most successful managers in world football at the moment. This sort of mentality, has also played a big part in helping Pep impact the teams he has managed and extensively improve these teams.
Phillips having played under Pep Guardiola’s manager idol (Marcelo Bielsa), is expected to have a little idea of what to expect from Pep Guardiola himself; since Pep and Bielsa share the same tactical ideas. Here’s what Txiki Begiristain had to say about Manchester City’s new signing Phillips:
@Kalvinphillips is a player we’ve long admired. At domestic and international level, he’s proved his fantastic ability and quality over the past few seasons. His reading of the game, his passing ability, energy and drive make him a formidable talent…
He’s a player who has a fantastic will to win. We feel he’ll be a superb addition to our squad and that he’ll complement our game perfectly. Everyone here is looking forward to watch Kalvin play and develop even further over the next few years.
In July of 2018, Phillips stated in an interview that as part of Marcelo Bielsa’s tactics, he had been training as a center-back and a more deep-lying playmaker ahead of the upcoming campaign.
Owing to his versatility in these positions (midfield and defence ), his abilities were put to use. He played as an outright Center back when a three man defence was called for use.
He was deployed as a holding midfielder from the start of the season in a 4-1-4-1 formation, which is similar to the position he would be expected to be deployed in this city side.
Philips having played under a Marcelo Bielsa side has learnt a style of football which is similar to Pep’s. Hard work, was the order of the day under Marcelo Bielsa’s management; with his players being able to run miles without getting fatigued, which immensely helped the team in pressing high up the pitch.
This tactical trait is very similar to Pep’s. Pep’s players and teams also possess the ability to apply high pressure on the opposition off the ball.
Kalvin Phillips ability to hold the midfield in isolation, is one of a kind and can be very rare to find. Surely, his class would be shown in city with the quality and outstanding abilities of his teammates.
Phillips would obviously have to earn a place in this Manchester City side as he faces stiff competition from Rodri who just had a really impressive season.
Kalvin’s ability to win possession from the opposition, and find passes in tiny pockets is one feature of his, that catches the eye, and is also an ability that Pep Guardiola loves of his midfielders. Kalvin was the only midfielder in Leeds united squad to make 137 tackles over the course of the premier league campaign.
The England international over the course of the 2021/22 campaign, had a tackles percentage of 2.7% compared to Rodri with 2.2%. Perhaps his more defensive abilities would also be put to use as Nathan Aké is now being linked with Chelsea. This could help him make himself known by the team.
It is without a doubt that Manchester city have made an exceptional signing, and city fans should definitely be excited.
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