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28th Nov 2021

Jamie Redknapp believes “something is not quite right” between Kalvin Phillips and Bielsa

Callum Boyle

Phillips was substituted at half time in Leeds’ game against Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday night

Jamie Redknapp believes that something may have happened behind the scenes between Kalvin Phillips and Marcelo Bielsa, claiming that “something is not quite right” with the pair.

Phillips was replaced at half-time during Leeds’ 0-0 draw with Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday night with the England international starting at centre-back once again after playing their against Tottenham Hotspur in their previous game.

However Phillips was moved into his more accustomed central midfield position before Bielsa made the decision to withdraw the 25-year-old at the break.

At first, it looked like it was for injury-related reasons, but the Leeds boss explained it was a tactical decision to substitute Phillips.

“It was a change because I thought the characteristics of Pascal [Struijk] were better suited to the game,” he told Sky Sports.

“The game position he had had a lot in common with Tottenham and I thought that forming the back four with Llorente, Phillips, Cooper and Firpo would help us to neutralise them.

“We started the game like that, but it wasn’t the correct decision. After, Phillips moved into midfield and it’s very likely that the adaptation didn’t help Kalvin as he was playing well as a centre-back.

“But I insist it wasn’t a question of the names, it was a question of the function collectively.”

After the game the studio discussed the decision which left Jamie Redknapp confused, and he feels that something may have gone on behind the scenes between the pair.

He said: “I think there’s something not quite right. He was definitely detailed to play in defence, but I saw him drift into midfield.

“I listened to the interview he did after the Tottenham game, where he had to hold back a few times. He’s an England midfielder, he doesn’t want to play as a defender.

“Needs must sometimes, where you have to do whatever is best for the team, but right now Leeds have other defenders that can do the job.

“He wants to be doing the job he’s doing for England – that comes with frustration and comes, to a certain extent, with ego as well.

“He’ll know right now, after the Euros, people are talking about him, big clubs are courting him, people want him, he doesn’t want to be playing centre-back for Leeds.”

Redknapp added that falling out with key players is the last thing Bielsa should be doing with Leeds currently struggling near the bottom of the table.

“That’s an interesting one. It feels like there’s definitely a clash with him and Bielsa right now.

“If I was Bielsa, falling out with players isn’t the right thing to do when results are bad. This might be the start of something that isn’t quite right at Leeds.

“I’ve been a big fan of Bielsa’s, but when I see his body language, the way they’re playing, they’re not playing to the level we expect, and falling out with big players is not the move you should be making right now.”