Leeds United’s Kalvin Phillips has been named the EFL Young Player of the Month for October.Since his breakthrough this season, the 20-year-old has excelled in the heart of the Leeds United midfield and struck up a solid partnership with his team-mates.
Having progressed through the club’s Academy, Leeds-born Phillips made his debut for the Yorkshire side back in April 2015, but only managed 12 appearances in all competitions prior to 2016/17.
However, having already featured 19 times this term, he has firmly established himself as a prominent figure in Garry Monk’s side.
On winning the EFL Young Player of the Month award, he said: “I’m really pleased. A lot of credit has to go to the coaching staff and the people that have been around me in training, but I’m really pleased.”
The youngster has been key to Leeds United’s recent run of form, and a good October saw them rise to sixth in the Sky Bet Championship following victories over Norwich City, Burton Albion and Wolves.
Phillips’ stand-out performance came against Wigan Athletic, when he received praise from club captain Liam Bridcutt, who said he has “huge potential” and has been “brilliant” all season.
When asked about his current form, Phillips added: “It just goes down to hard work. I come in every day and I just want to play and do my best. I think the gaffer has seen that.
“Playing week in week out in the Championship is great, I never thought I’d really do that after last season. In the first couple of games I was struggling a bit, but the more I play I get better and better so hopefully I play a lot more.”
Each season, EFL clubs invest more than £60m on identifying, training and educating the next generation of football talent.
There are 8,500 young players between the ages of eight and 18 registered with EFL clubs, making EFL Youth Development the largest centrally coordinated young player programme in world football. More than 200 players aged 21 or under make their professional debuts for EFL Clubs each season.
As well as being a Leeds local, the youngster is also a Leeds United fan having followed them throughout his childhood.
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“It’s crazy playing for the team you support,” he said.
“I used to watch games at Elland Road when I was younger all the time and stepping out onto the pitch to play now, I can’t quite believe it.”
The EFL Young Player of the Month is no stranger to Leeds United as Phillips follows in the footsteps of Sam Byram and Alex Mowatt, who have previously won the award in 2013 and 2014 respectively, as well as Lewis Cook, who was last season named the EFL Young Player of the Year at the EFL Awards.
Commenting on Phillips’ achievement, David Wetherall, Director of Youth Development at the EFL, said: “Kalvin has had an excellent month with his form playing a major part in the good run of the team.
“He continues the excellent player production record of the Leeds United academy and I look forwards to seeing him develop further in the future.”
Each month the prestigious award is presented by the EFL to a young player who has made a significant contribution and impact in first-team football.
EFL Young Player of the Month winners - Season 2016/17
August: Nathan Smith (Port Vale)
September: Tammy Abraham (Bristol City)