Leeds were 'almost pushing' Phillips towards deserved Man City move, says Bamford

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Patrick Bamford says Kalvin Phillips' former team-mates were "almost pushing" for the midfielder to leave Leeds United and fight for trophies.

Leeds academy product Phillips left Elland Road this month to joined Premier League champions Manchester City for a reported £45million, signing a six-year deal.

The 26-year-old caught the eye in his first top-flight season under Marcelo Bielsa in the 2020-21 campaign before making a name for himself at Euro 2020 for England alongside Declan Rice.

Phillips recovered possession a team-high 45 times, while only three England players completed more than his 293 successful passes as the Three Lions reached their first major final in 55 years.

He was limited to 20 league appearances in the 2021-22 season, but still ranked third for recoveries (180), sixth for tackles (54) and seventh for successful passes (777) among Leeds outfield players.

While Bamford was disappointed to see his team-mate depart for the Etihad Stadium, he acknowledged Phillips deserved the opportunity to play in the Champions League and compete for titles.

"It said it all when Kalvin went straight from getting promoted to being in the England team and becoming a mainstay there," Bamford told reporters.

"He deserves this chance to fight for trophies on all fronts.

"None of us can begrudge him for going. As sad as it is, we were almost pushing him because he deserves it and it's his time."

Kalvin Phillips was a crucial player for Leeds United
Kalvin Phillips was a crucial player for Leeds United

Leeds also lost Raphinha to Barcelona as another key star departed from Jesse Marsch's side, who narrowly avoided Premier League relegation on the final day of the last campaign.

Marsch's team have been busy in the transfer window, though, bringing in Marc Roca, Brenden Aaronson, Luis Sinisterra, Tyler Adams and Rasmus Kristensen to bolster their squad.

With the new arrivals, Bamford assures Leeds will still play an entertaining brand of free-flowing football that supporters became accustomed to under Bielsa.

"We've retained our Premier League status and the squad's changed a lot," the 28-year-old added.

"We've had time to work on what Jesse wants and understand his tactics and work on them. I think this year will still be an entertaining Leeds United – but slightly different."

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