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Leeds United star Kalvin Phillips has revealed he had a shirt number disagreement with boss Marcelo Bielsa. Phillips admitted he had doubts over Bielsa’s decision to hand him the No. 4 shirt.
But two years after that, Leeds secured their promotion to the Premier League after 16 -year wait. And now Phillips will get the chance to test himself in the English top-flight.
The talented 24-year-old was playing as a box-to-box midfielder actually wears the No.23 shirt. But has revealed that right from the very start he was left confused by Bielsa’s decision to see him as a No.4.
“When the manager first came in, we had a meeting where he went through the names of each player telling us which number we’d be wearing,” Phillips told The Athletic. “Obviously I thought I was going to be No.8 or something like that, but when he got to me he said No.4.
“It surprised me because it hadn’t crossed my mind that I might be playing there. After that meeting, he told me he wanted me to be a defensive-mid and that I’d have to get better defensively and in the air. I started working on it straight away. Up until then, I probably thought of myself as box-to-box.
“If you’d asked me, that’s what I would have said. I wasn’t a defender and I didn’t think of myself as one. I’d scored a few goals in the previous season. So when I first got told to play defensive-mid I thought, ‘What’s going on here then?’”