Kalvin Phillips has written Leeds United and their supporters an emotional farewell after the midfielder’s move to Manchester City was finally made offical.
Hometown hero Phillips ended his 12-year association with the West Yorkshire side on Monday, penning a huge six-year deal with City. With two years left on his deal, Leeds were left with little choice but to sell once Pep Guardiola made his interest clear. When a space opened up in their midfield thanks to the departure of Fernandinho, Guardiola and Co zoned in on the Leeds man.
His move will cost City an initial £42m and the player was quick to explain his reasons for choosing to play for City.
However, he could not depart Leeds – the only club he’s played for – without penning a heartfelt goodbye. And in his message, Phillips expressed gratitude to the club, it’s supporters, his teammates and owner Andrea Radrizzani. However, it was his message to Bielsa which will most resonate with Leeds fans.
“Where do I start? First of all, I would like to express how much of a privilege it has been to play for this amazing club. Since making my debut at 17 it has been a journey any Leeds lad could wish for,’ Phillips wrote.
‘When I was young, I went to see my first ever Leeds game at ER and from that moment I knew that my dream was to put on that white shirt and walk out on that pitch.
‘I’d like to thank everyone involved at the club for making Leeds one of the best clubs on earth. Every manager I have played under for showing trust in me and teaching me all I know.’
Marcelo Bielsa recognised
Paying special tribute to Bielsa, the man who converted Phillips into the defensive midfielder he is today. A struggling attacking midfielder prior to that, he saw in Phillips what no other coach had.
As a result, the 26-year-old was quick to recognise the Argentinian’s role in his development.
‘I cannot mention Leeds without mentioning one special person – Marcelo,’ Phillips added.
‘The best manager I have ever come across. He was a man that gave the club life. He gave the players, and everyone involved in the club belief that we were good enough to return to the Premier League after 16 years.
‘Not only did you give the club everything, but you also gave me everything I needed to become the person I am today on and off the field.’
Phillips also had words of praise for Jesse Marsch, having helped Leeds navigate through a tricky relegation run-in.
‘And now to Jesse, what an unbelievable manager you are, but what an even better person,’ added Phillips.
‘You came into this club and gave every single player confidence and belief in a very difficult season. And that’s what kept us in the league. From the bottom of my heart thank you.’
Kalvin Phillips thanks Leeds fans
Reflecting on an emotional four year spell at Leeds, the emotional farewell from Phillips continued.
‘To all my team-mates from my debut to my last game thank you for helping a Leeds lad achieve his dream. I wish everyone all the best in the future and for the next season.
‘Over the last four years me and you boys have shared so many memories. From missing out in the play-offs to getting promoted and then surviving relegation last season. You lot are an unbelievable set of boys that deserve everything.
‘And finally, to my family, the fans! I hope you guys understand my decision and will accept that I only want to chase my dreams and test myself against and with the best teams and best players on the planet. As a young kid I had so many dreams and still do… but playing for you was the one I will never forget.
‘You are the best fans in the world.
Kalvin Phillips tells Leeds he wants to leave for Man City
Kalvin Phillips has told Leeds United he wants to leave the club and is ready to join Manchester City
‘Good luck to everyone involved with Leeds United. I love you all and will miss you. Never goodbye. I WILL see you soon. MOT!’
Kalvin Phillips now faces the challenge of becoming a regular in the City line-up. He will compete with their galaxy of stars for a place in their XI. And alongside Rodri as a defensive midfielder, City now have two of the best options in the Premier League.
The team will likely play around 60 games next season, factoring in cup runs. And Phillips will inevitably play his fair share under Guardiola as their quest for Champions League glory continues.