Phillips with Leeds United in 2015
|Full name||Kalvin Mark Phillips|
|Date of birth||2 December 1995|
|Place of birth||Leeds, England|
|Height||5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 15:24, 13 June 2021 (UTC)|
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 22:49, 18 June 2021 (UTC)
A Leeds United academy graduate, Phillips made his first-team debut in 2015. In the 2019–20 season, Phillips was a member of the Leeds team coached by Marcelo Bielsa that won the Championship. Following this season, Phillips made his international debut for the England national team, and was chosen to represent England at UEFA Euro 2020.
Phillips played for local club Wortley from 2003 to 2010 before joining Leeds United's academy aged 14. He progressed through the club's youth ranks and signed his first professional deal with the club in the summer of 2014, retaining him for the 2014–15 season.
During the 2014–15 season, Phillips became the captain of the development and under-18 teams. Phillips joined the first team for the trip to Sunderland in the FA Cup third round on 4 January 2015; he was unused substitute in a 1–0 defeat. On 30 March 2015, Leeds Academy coach Jason Blunt revealed that he felt the form of Phillips for the under-18 and development tems would see Phillips become a future first team fans favourite. Phillips made further appearances on the bench for the first team in league matches over the following months before making his professional debut against Wolverhampton Wanderers in 4–3 defeat on 6 April 2015. Along with Sam Byram, Charlie Taylor, Alex Mowatt and Lewis Cook, Phillips was the latest graduate of a promising group of academy players to regularly feature under former youth manager Neil Redfearn in the 2014–15 season. On 11 April 2015, Phillips retained his position in the Leeds starting 11, making his home debut against Cardiff City at Elland Road. Phillips marked the match with his first senior goal in only his second appearance, although the match finished in a 2–1 defeat to Cardiff. At the end of the season, he was offered and accepted a new two-year contract.
On 31 July 2015, Phillips was given the number 27 shirt for the upcoming 2015–16 season. However, with Redfearn replaced as head coach during the summer, Phillips made just 10 league appearances over the course of the season under head coaches Uwe Rösler and then Steve Evans.
In June 2016, only days after the appointment of new head coach Garry Monk, Phillips was offered a new three-year contract at Leeds. On 23 June, Phillips signed the new 3-year contract extension to stay at the club until the summer of 2019. On 27 August 2016, Phillips scored his first goal of the 2016–17 season, with a long-range free kick against Nottingham Forest in a 3–1 defeat. After an injury to captain Liam Bridcutt in September 2016, Phillips, alongside Eunan O'Kane or Ronaldo Vieira, established himself as an important player in Leeds' central midfield. Phillips' impressive form for Leeds saw him win the Championship Young Player of the Month Award for October 2016. On 9 December 2016, Phillips was given his first professional red card after giving away a penalty in a 2–0 defeat against then league leaders Brighton & Hove Albion by turning away a goal-bound shot with his arm, the penalty was converted by Glenn Murray.
On 6 August 2017, the opening day of the 2017–18 Championship season, Phillips scored a brace to ensure Leeds beat Bolton Wanderers 3–2. On 9 September he scored his third goal of the season in the match against Burton Albion. His fifth of the season came on 27 October in a 2–1 defeat in the Yorkshire derby against Sheffield United. He started the season partnering O'Kane in the centre of Leeds' midfield, although after a good start to the season, Leeds suffered a lack of form prior to the dismissal of head coach Thomas Christiansen in February 2018. Phillips and O'Kane found themselves in and out the team with Vieira given more opportunities and the arrival of Adam Forshaw in January 2018. Phillips ended the season with seven goals and three assists, which represented the best scoring season of his career so far.
On 19 July 2018, Phillips revealed he had been training as a centre-back and a deep-lying playmaker ahead of the 2018–19 season, as part of new head coach Marcelo Bielsa's tactics. As the season started, he was deployed as the holding midfielder in a 4–1–4–1 formation. Phillips was utilised as a deep-lying defensive midfielder for Leeds under Bielsa, Phillps also would play as a centre-back if Leeds' lined up in a three-man defence. In October 2018, his impressive form in his new position's under Bielsa's management, saw Phillips briefly linked with a possible call up to Gareth Southgate's England national team. After a knee injury to Captain Liam Cooper on 1 December 2018 in a 1–0 win against Sheffield United, Phillips deputised several matches playing as an outright centre-back until Cooper's return in mid-January. After returning to his defensive midfielder position, he scored his first goal of the season in Leeds' 1–1 draw against Middlesbrough on 9 February 2019, with Phillips scoring the equaliser in the 11th minute of injury time. In March 2019, he was selected to the 2018–19 Championship EFL Team of the Season. On 4 May 2019, Phillips was named the Yorkshire Evening Post Player of the Year for the 2018–19 season. During the 2018–19 season, Phillips made 46 appearances in all competitions, scoring 1 goal, after Leeds finished the regular season in third place. Leeds qualified for the play-offs, and Phillips started the fixtures against sixth-placed Derby County. Despite Leeds taking a 1–0 win away into the home leg, Leeds lost 4–2 in the second leg, with Leeds down to 10 men after the red card of Gaetano Berardi, and saw Derby progress to the final against Aston Villa 4–3 on aggregate.
In July 2019, Leeds opened contract talks with Phillips over a new contract. On 8 August 2019, it was revealed that Leeds had rejected bids for Phillips during the 2019 transfer window in order to keep him at the club, with bids for Phillips rejected at around £27 million. In September 2019, he signed a new five-year contract with Leeds. On Leeds United's centenary week, Phillips scored the winning goal against Birmingham City, with the match finishing 1–0 which took place in front of another large crowd at Elland Road. In November 2019, Phillips' Leeds form in defensive midfield under Marcelo Bielsa saw calls for him to be called up to the England squad. England manager Gareth Southgate watched Phillips in January 2020 ahead of a possible call up. After the English football season was paused in March 2020 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the season was resumed during June. Phillips would go on to score a free kick in Leeds' 3–1 win over Blackburn Rovers on 4 July 2020, however his season would be ended just a week later following a knee injury picked up in the 1–0 win over Swansea City. Despite this, Leeds would shortly go on to be promoted to the Premier League as champions when a 1–0 victory over Barnsley was followed by both West Bromwich Albion and Brentford losing their matches. On 7 August, he was named in The Guardian's Championship Team of the Season for 2019–20. On 8 September 2020, Phillips was named in the Professional Footballers' Association's 2019–20 Championship Team of the Season.
On 12 September 2020, Phillips made his first appearance in the Premier League in the opening game of the season in the 4–3 defeat against reigning Premier League champions Liverpool at Anfield, with Phillips gaining an assist for Jack Harrison's goal.
On 8 February 2021, Phillips made his 200th appearance for Leeds in a 2–0 win over Crystal Palace, joining a select group of just under 70 players that have made over 200 appearances for the club, including current teammates Stuart Dallas and Liam Cooper who also hit the milestone this season.
Phillips was born in England, and is of Jamaican descent through his father and Irish descent through his mother. He was contacted by the Jamaica national team for a potential call-up. On 25 August 2020, Gareth Southgate named Phillips in the England squad for the first time. In an interview after being called up, Phillips spoke of his plan to give his first England shirt to Marcelo Bielsa after the Leeds United manager handed him a playing shirt from his old club Newell's Old Boys, along with a message to him and his family to commemorate his first international call-up. Phillips made his international debut on 8 September 2020 against Denmark in the UEFA Nations League.
After starting his career as a box-to-box or central midfielder, Phillips was converted into a defensive midfielder by Marcelo Bielsa before the start of the 2018–19 season. He is known for his range of short sharp passing, long ball distribution and ability to start attacks whilst covering his defensive duties, with him described as a 'lynchpin'.
Marcelo Bielsa described his style "He's very good at getting the ball and putting it into another space, a better space. He's very good when he has to cover the team when our full-backs go in attack. And when we are outnumbered, he is very good with his defending." Phillips was also converted into playing as a centre back under Bielsa.
For his similar style of play, Phillips was given the nickname "Yorkshire Pirlo" by Leeds fans in homage to Andrea Pirlo. Following his performance for England against Croatia at Euro 2020, he was described as “brilliant at finding little pockets of space that turn a simple passing move into a dangerous attack.”
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