Leeds United may have just beaten Aston Villa 3-0, but one problem looks likely to persist at Elland Road.
Indeed, the Whites may have managed to win without Kalvin Phillips in their starting XI, but their quest to find a holding midfield replacement within their squad goes on.
Pascal Struijk was subbed off after just 20 minutes of playing in the defensive midfield role after picking up an early yellow card, and while Phillips’ absence wasn’t felt against the Villans, there will come a time where they miss him.
Unfortunately, this could have been avoided if they hadn’t have loaned out Alfie McCalmont.
McCalmont plays in the exact same role as Phillips, and he’s reportedly a player that Bielsa had earmarked to replace him if the Yorkshire Pirlo had departed the club in the summer of 2019.
It isn’t just Bielsa who’s a fan either, Noel Whelan waxed lyrical about the Northern Irishman earlier this year.
“McCalmont I have seen a few times now and he is very capable,” he told Football Insider.
“He was tipped to replace Kalvin or be that second string to Kalvin throughout the season.
“A very good player, great on the ball and a good football mind.
“He is one that is learning his trade from watching Kalvin and being in and around that first-team setup.”
If McCalmont was seen as Phillips’ successor by the higher-ups at Leeds, why was he allowed to go on loan without another defensive midfielder coming in?
Leeds have now been left in a difficult predicament with Phillips set to miss six weeks of action, and with no recognised defensive midfielder in the squad, they’re scrambling for someone to replace him.
Struijk proved within 20 minutes on Friday that he isn’t up to the task just yet, and that only adds more fuel to the argument that McCalmont shouldn’t have been loaned out.
Leeds have dropped the ball on this one.
And in other news, Leeds should have held off on selling this ace.