Tyler Adams has told KageyVision that Kalvin Phillips is a special player, but insisted that he was never looking to step into his shoes at Leeds United, instead wanting to make a real impact of his own at Elland Road.
It was hard to not make comparisons between Phillips and Adams. Phillips, of course, had been the fulcrum of Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds side. And it was during that spell that he established himself as one of the best holding midfielders in the Premier League. He also forced his way into the England fold.
As his departure for Manchester City loomed, Leeds made a move for Adams. The American had previously played under Jesse Marsch.
Tyler Adams lauds Kalvin Phillips
Phillips left Leeds two days before Adams arrived. And with the pair playing in the same position, it was hard to not question whether the 24-year-old would be able to fill the void.
Adams has been an outstanding performer for the Whites. In fact, it is hard to argue with anyone who believes that he has been our player of the season so far.
But he insisted that he was never looking to replace Phillips, despite having nothing but the utmost respect for the England international.
“Kalvin is a special player,” he told KageyVision. “Obviously, Leeds through and through. What he did for the club speaks for itself. He was a pivotal part of their success and obviously the rise into the Premier League and keeping them there. When I came here, I knew that’s who everyone was going to think I’m replacing.
“I know that Kalvin Phillips will always hold a special place in a lot of people’s hearts throughout the club and the city. But for me, it was a huge opportunity for me to take a step into the Premier League.
“When people are asking me are you going to be able to fill the shoes of Kalvin Phillips, I kind of looked at them like: no, that was never the plan, I didn’t even think of Kalvin. I knew what he did for the club and how important he was. I wanted to come and show my qualities and who Tyler Adams is.”
The biggest compliment you can pay Adams is that Leeds really have not missed Phillips this season. Obviously, we would have loved to have kept the 27-year-old for as long as possible. And it is not nice to see how little he has played for Manchester City.
But you can understand why Phillips had to leave. That was too good an opportunity to turn down. And given what Leeds have served up this season, the decision still looks like a smart one.
Thankfully, Adams has been absolutely brilliant. As long as we stay in the top-flight, he could be a key man for several years.
Perhaps there is a chance that he could be the next player to wear the captain’s armband.