The 23-year-old is undoubtedly one of the finest midfielders in the Championship, a fact he has proven time and time again throughout his 141 appearances for the club [Source: Transfermarkt].
However, the Whites are facing the possibility of life without the Englishman before long. The Sun reported on Saturday that Phillips is willing to sit it out at Elland Road this season to ensure he gets a move to Aston Villa in a year’s time when he’ll be in the final 12 months of his contract and can review the situation again.
The Villans are currently unwilling to move beyond their original £15million offer for the player, something which is seemingly preventing a deal from being done.
However, it’s appears clear that Phillips now has his heart set on a switch to Villa Park.
TiF Tactics – Just how much would Leeds miss Phillips?
Anyone who has watched the Whites stalwart prowling the middle of the park in Yorkshire in recent years will tell you that, yes, the team would likely miss Phillips hugely if he eventually departs for Villa or anyone else.
But just how much of a loss would he be? Is there any way to make up for the solid defensive wall he puts up in front of the defence, something which no other Leeds player does quite as well?
It’s the defensive side of the game, as mentioned, that Phillips does so well. As per WhoScored.com, he averaged 2.6 tackles, 1.3 interceptions and 2.6 clearances a game last term, phenomenal tallies for someone who doesn’t play in the back four.
He’s certainly combative, giving away an average of 1.5 fouls per outing, but that’s a hazard of the job really. However, he’s a terrific mover of the ball as well, averaging 58.5 passes per game with a success rate 82.1%, while he averages a stunning 4.6 long balls per game.
Clearly he is a brilliant player who would be an absolutely crushing loss for Marcelo Bielsa’s side, and so it’s imperative that the club sort his situation out as soon as possible.
What’s he done?
Former Leeds United midfielder David Prutton is one man who is a big fan of the young Whites midfield general, writing in his column in the Yorkshire Post that: “You watch him on a night like Wednesday against Swansea when, quite honestly he looks undroppable – a midfielder who would get into any team in the Championship no problem.”
Sky Sports pundit Don Goodman raved over Phillips after a win over Wigan Athletic last season, telling his employers: “He has been outstanding on and off the ball, the world is his oyster. He ticks every box and all the attributes to be a top player, he possesses.”