Kalvin Phillips has arguably been Leeds’ player of the season. His form has been vital to Marcelo Bielsa’s side, and there is perhaps no player more important to the Whites right now than the youngster.
In the past couple of games, the 23-year-old has featured at centre-back. Leeds have only conceded one goal in those three fixtures. But Phillips has not always looked completely comfortable.
It is no surprise. Centre-back is a role that would have been completely unfamiliar to Phillips before this season. But his remarkable progress should not stop Bielsa heeding the warning signs.
Against QPR, he made a mistake in the immediate build-up to their goal. And against Bolton on Saturday, he was arguably lucky not to give away a penalty.
Phillips is doing brilliantly given the circumstances, but Leeds are occasionally looking more vulnerable. And that should convince Bielsa to give serious thought to strengthening the defensive options next month.
In the next couple of months, Leeds will have Luke Ayling, Liam Cooper and Gaetano Berardi all returning. The trio can all play at centre-back, so the Whites will not need any further signings if they manage to stay fit.
However, we know all too well how risky it can be to rely on players staying fit for long periods. The injury list Bielsa has coped with makes Leeds’ performance this season frightening.
But when things are going so well, no risks should be taken. And getting a new centre-back in January that allows Phillips to return to his slightly more advanced role as quickly as possible must now be considered.