Leeds United

Leeds United: Paul Robinson questions Victor Orta’s Kalvin Phillips strategy

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Former Leeds United goalkeeper Paul Robinson has expressed his disappointment after it was reported the Whites are considering Flynn Downes as a replacement for Kalvin Phillips.

Earlier this month, The Times journalist Jonathan Norcroft discussed the future of Phillips, who has been heavily linked with a move away from Elland Road in the past.

This time around, it seems Aston Villa, West Ham United and Newcastle United are amongst the interested parties.

Would you replace Phillips with Downes?





On a list of potential replacements is 23-year-old Downes, who currently plies his trade in the Championship with Swansea City. This news has not gone down well at all with Robinson, with the ex-England international questioning Victor Orta’s transfer policy.

Speaking to MOT Leeds News, he said: “He’s not at the same level as Kalvin Phillips – he’s nowhere near. Look at how big a miss Phillips has been this season.

“Leeds have got to start shopping at the same shops as the top half of the Premier League.

“Yes, there are bargains to be had and there are top players in the Championship – look at Jarrod Bowen, for example, at West Ham.

“But your recruitment has got to be absolutely spot on.”

Robinson continued: “If you are going to lose Phillips, you’ve got to be recruiting at the top table, you’ve got to be looking around Europe for better players, you’ve got to improve.

“Players do move on and it’s not the end of the world when they do – look at Liverpool and Philippe Coutinho, Fernando Torres and Luis Suarez.

“They rebuilt the team so there’s always rebuilding and rejuvenation going on if the money is put into the team wisely and the right signings being made.

“I can’t see Leeds progressing forward if they’re consistently shopping in the Championship when they need to buy better players.”

TIF Thoughts on the Phillips situation…

Phillips has been a bystander in Yorkshire for much of the campaign, featuring in just 12 Premier League matches due to injury, which is perhaps telling given Leeds’ struggles in the top flight as they lie 16th in the table. Of the games the 26-year-old has appeared in, his side have been on the losing side on just three occasions, which underlines his importance.

The midfielder has evolved into one of Leeds’ key players, especially under the influence of former manager Marcelo Bielsa. Not only did he help earn promotion to the Premier League and subsequently contributed to a top-half finish last season, but he also started every game during England’s run to the Euro 2020 final, forming a strong understanding with Declan Rice in the middle of the park.

Downes, meanwhile, has just 70 Championship appearances to his name, and appears to be a cheap option should Phillips depart. He is valued at just £1.08m, after all, compared to £36m for Phillips.

There is something to be said for looking to the lower divisions, as Robinson rightly alluded to when mentioning Jarrod Bowen, but star players should not be replaced with budget options. Hopefully for Leeds’ sake, Orta has other more established targets near the top of his shortlist.

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  • Barry butteree says:

    I agree completely. Why is Nandez wearing a Leeds shirt?. If we want to try to buy players to develop from the championship why are we not using our U23 before they all leave out of frustration. We know most of them would be more than capable of playing above our current level.

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