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‘I Don’t Think You Can Pigeon-Hole Him’ Former Leeds United Academy Manager Neil Redfearn Talks About Manchester City’s Incoming Midfielder Kalvin Phillips

Neil Redfearn handed Kalvin Phillips his senior debut when he was in caretaker charge of Leeds United and wants to make sure people don't think he's just a defensive midfielder. 

“He’s got lots of facets, which is why I don’t think you can pigeon-hole him. I don’t think he’ll always end up being a defensive midfield player. He can do both jobs very, very well.” his former coach told Sam Lee and Oliver Kay of The Athletic

Kalvin Phillips in action for England

The current Sheffield United Women's team coach says that the 26-year-old was in the right place at the right time when Marcelo Bielsa took over at Elland Road. 

Marcelo Bielsa saw his attributes in a different way, looking at him as more of a defensive midfield player.

“I had him more as a No 8, where he got box to box, which he was very good at, but Bielsa saw him as a different kind of player, which was great. And when Bielsa got him, he was still young and impressionable, willing to take on different ideas"

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“That happened at a good time for Kal. Bielsa wanted him to be a midfield player who could drop in between the centre-backs and help them overload the opposition. And the sky was the limit for him, really, because he had all the tools. He had a physical presence, technically he was very good, he’s two-footed, he could see a pass, he’s got a range in his passing and he had always been very good on the defensive side.

“That role suited him — but the more attacking role suited him too."

“It was always going to take a lot for Kalvin to leave Leeds,” Redfearn says. “He’s a Leeds lad and he’s very loyal, so it was going to take something special. But I think the opportunity to go and play for a great team under a coach like Guardiola is very hard for anyone to resist.

“Of course, that’s going to appeal to him. He will feel that Guardiola can take him to another level, the same way Bielsa did. I think it’s a great move for him.”

Many City fans will be mindful of how long it took Jack Grealish to adjust to a new style of play after his move from Aston Villa last summer, but with a glowing review from Redfearn, they would hope that this will be one move that the England International can hit the ground running with no problems. 

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