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The critical ambition which will sway Kalvin Phillips' Leeds United decision, according to a former Premier League star - YEP 20/5/22

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Ex-Arsenal defender Nigel Winterburn has warned that Kalvin Phillips' desire to play for England will be foremost in his thoughts in the upcoming transfer window. By Flora Snelson The Whites talisman first became a target for Premier League clubs as he was boosting his boyhood club through their title-winning Championship campaign of 2019/2020. But Phillips' value subsequently skyrocketed when he emerged as a standout performer for England as the Three Lions reached the EURO 2020 final last summer. Throughout United's persistent struggles in their second top-flight campaign, speculation regarding the midfielder's future has dragged on. This week, fresh reports emerged of interest in the 26-year-old at Manchester City, who are set to lose established defensive midfielder Fernandinho at the close of the season. Though Phillips would prefer to remain at Leeds, where he has played since he was 14 years old, it will be harder for him to progress as a player again

Psychology expert with Leeds United relegation experience addresses Jesse Marsch job and concerns - YEP 20/5/22

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From day one at Leeds United, Jesse Marsch felt he had walked into a ‘psychological job’ and it took little time for him to become acutely aware of the tension gripping the squad. By Graham Smyth A 3-0 beating at home by Aston Villa, on a night when supporters aired Marcelo Bielsa chants and expressed anger in the direction of the club’s decision makers, allowed Marsch to pick up on the weight of expectation and pressure bearing down on his players. “I underestimated the stress of the moment from the players’ perspective,” he said. The mood lightened a little during the five-game unbeaten run that followed, but the loss of senior leaders to injuries and red cards, along with three-straight defeats that threatened to become four against Brighton, have left Leeds in not only genuine peril but a state of disbelief. Marsch admitted as such after a half-time team talk that tried to address his concern over the players’ mindsets. “I could still see the looks on some of their face

Leeds United dealt massive blow in survival bid after huge Burnley boost with Everton safe - YEP 19/5/22

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Leeds United's bid for Premier League survival is out of their own hands heading into the Sunday's final day of the campaign. By Lee Sobot Relegation rivals Burnley sealed a 1-1 draw at Thursday night's hosts Aston Villa which left the Whites back in the drop zone as part of an evening when Everton made themselves safe. The Toffees produced an incredible comeback to beat Crystal Palace 3-2 at Goodison Park having trailed 2-0 at the interval and Frank Lampard's side are now four points clear of the drop zone. The battle to avoid finishing in the division's final relegation place and joining Watford and Norwich City in being relegated is now a two-horse race between Leeds and Burnley heading into Sunday's final day. But United's far inferior goal difference means that the Whites will be consigned to the drop if Burnley beat Newcastle United at Turf Moor, regardless of how Leeds fare at Brentford. Jesse Marsch's side are level on points with the

The right call for Jesse Marsch to make in Leeds United line-up for needle-filled Brentford clash - YEP 19/5/22

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Mateusz Klich could be forgiven for willing this season to finish because it hasn’t been much fun compared with his last three at Leeds United. But it can’t end yet. By Graham Smyth For two seasons in the Championship and one in the Premier League, granted to a slightly lesser degree, Klich was the main man for Marcelo Bielsa. The only second-tier game he missed during the Argentine’s tenure was the post-promotion visit to Derby County and the cause of his absence was never stated in brackets after his name in the time-honoured football reporting fashion, because there was simply no way Bielsa was ever going to utter the word hangover in a press conference. Klich made it onto the Pride Park pitch that day but only to break dance upon it, having sat on the bench and enjoyed a hard-earned rest as his team-mates cantered to victory. He was a vital part of promotion, a cog that made so many others turn as they were designed to, and even if his influence waned in the much more dif

'Baffling' chief Leeds United motivation after getting Premier League seasons wrong way round - YEP 19/5/22

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The world hasn’t stopped going round yet, so Leeds United know who will be with them at Brentford on Sunday. By Graham Smyth There are so many very good reasons for the 11 men in Leeds shirts to give their absolute everything for the final 90 minutes of the season this weekend. They are competitors, athletes who want to win everything from head tennis in training to that awful chewing gum game Kalvin Phillips, Patrick Bamford et al used to play on the pitch before games, and they want to be the men who kept Leeds up, not the ones who took them down. Even the players for whom summer moves are on the agenda whether or not the Whites remain a Premier League club desperately want to go out on a high. They want to make loved ones proud, the wives, partners, kids, parents and friends who have supported them every step of the way en route to football’s top table. They are team-mates, who want to experience highs together and enjoy moments like last weekend’s stoppage time equalise

Eat the rich and bow to Joffy - The Square Ball 18/5/22

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WHAT'S THAT NOISE? Written by: Steven York It wasn’t until the Spurs game in February that we finally heard booing at Elland Road this season. While the fanbase had been entirely enamoured with Marcelo Bielsa and the exhilarating, if volatile, football that came with him, shipping twenty goals in five games was bound to rub some of that shine away. It isn’t like the stands had never seen anger or resentment before. In fact most of my adult life has been spent angry or resentful at someone managing or running the club. But it felt like a watershed moment when the crowd finally turned its frustration towards Bielsa. Fast forward a few unhappy months, and we hit another watershed moment. While the response to life after Bielsa has been mixed, it wasn’t until Leeds were losing against Brighton in a game that desperately needed a different result that we finally heard vocal dissent towards the board. ‘Sack the board’ rang around the stadium as pointed figures in the Kop gestured

Adam Forshaw reveals his shortcut to mental 'clarity' during challenging injury lay-off - YEP 17/5/22

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Leeds United midfielder Adam Forshaw has said that other forms of exercise gave him clarity while injury prevented him from playing football. By Flora Snelson Forshaw sat out the entirety of Whites' stunning maiden top-flight season with a hip injury that threatened to end his playing career altogether, so it was a huge relief for him to get back on the pitch and make 22 Premier League appearances this campaign. But last month, Forshaw counted himself out of United's relegation run-in as he was side-lined once more with a fractured kneecap suffered during a training session. No stranger to the treatment room, the 30-year-old described the effect of injury and his own key to coping with it. "I had times where, from a sports point of view, I was really down and didn't know where to turn to," Forshaw said. "At times I've thought I might have to retire, which is taking everything away from me in terms of what I've dreamed of doing as a kid.

Where there’s hope there’s Eddie Gray - The Square Ball 17/5/22

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BEEN HERE BEFORE Written by: Rob Conlon If there’s one person who can keep a healthy perspective on Leeds United’s 2021/22 season, it’s Eddie Gray. The weekend marked two anniversaries with very different vibes for Gray at Leeds. He was among the heroes of 1972 parading the pitch pre-match, celebrating fifty years since the club’s only FA Cup win, now immortalised by plaques outside the East Stand designed by Paul Trevillion (and, cough cough, a special issue of The Square Ball). But Sunday’s draw was played forty years on from a fixture involving eerily familiar circumstances: Brighton visiting Elland Road, the penultimate game of the season, Leeds facing the all too real prospect of relegation. Gray was wearing the number 7 shirt that day against Brighton in 1982, 34 years old, the glory years he spent under Don Revie consigned to a different era. Just like on Sunday, Brighton were winning 1-0 at half-time, and going into the final ten minutes Leeds were looking doomed. Allan

'There is no story' - Brentford boss Thomas Frank glosses over Leeds United rivalry ahead of final day showdown - YEP 17/5/22

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Brentford will hold nothing back in their 'cup final' against Leeds United in the last game of the Premier League season. By Flora Snelson That's the message Bees boss Thomas Frank gave after his side's victory over relegation-threatened Everton left the fight for survival wide open. Pascal Struijk's late equaliser for Leeds against Brighton and Hove Albion ensured that the relegation battle will go to the very last day - midweek results for Everton, at home to Crystal Palace, and Burnley, who visit Aston Villa, will not be enough to send United down, meaning Leeds' top flight status will be hanging in the balance when they travel to the Brentford Community Stadium on Sunday - a fact which is not lost on Frank. This season, Elland Road has felt like a sinking ship, with Marcelo Bielsa's historic promotion-winning team disintegrating into mediocrity and possibly taking their hard-fought top-flight status down with them, while Frank's newly-promote

'We need some help' - Jesse Marsch on Leeds United's predicament and plan for the week - YEP 17/5/22

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Leeds United need help to stay up but will go to Brentford ready to help themselves, Jesse Marsch has vowed. By Graham Smyth The head coach says all the Whites’ energy and focus will go into the planning and execution of ‘whatever it takes’ to get the result needed. But it won’t be until late on Thursday night that the exact requirements become at least a little clearer. Leeds’ 1-1 draw with Brighton took them out of the drop zone, a point clear of Burnley who play Aston Villa away from home on Thursday, and a point behind Everton who take on Crystal Palace at the same time. That point rescued late on at Elland Road on Sunday has ensured that Leeds cannot be relegated until the final day of the season, on Sunday, although they will still need results elsewhere to go their way “We’re alive now regardless for the last day,” said Marsch. “We have to fight for every point and any point gets us a little bit closer and shifts a little bit of the momentum. We know Burnley has a matc

The performance art of Joe Gelhardt and Lewis Dunk - The Square Ball 16/5/22

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LEWIS DRUNK AMIRITE! Written by: Rob Conlon When Graham Potter sits his Brighton players down at their training ground and starts showing them clips of what they did well and what they did badly against Leeds, what will he say to Lewis Dunk? Potter might be better off letting Dunk skip the session to save his captain the embarrassment. After all those videos of incisive attacks in the first half and Robert Sanchez’s fine goalkeeping in the second, what constructive feedback can Potter possibly say to Dunk as the rest of the squad are stifling their giggles, watching their leader failing to stop Joffy Gelhardt creating Pascal Struijk’s equaliser, looking like a drunk trying to teach himself capoeira? Perhaps the only reassurance Potter can give Dunk is that he isn’t the first and won’t be the last defender bewitched by the sorcery in Joffy’s boots. It feels so long since Gelhardt was making his Elland Road debut by making Wolves’ defence look like Bobby Robson’s England against

New Leeds United tactic could hold key to Premier League survival in Brentford experiment - YEP 16/5/22

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Leeds United attacking duo Joe Gelhardt and Patrick Bamford have never started a fixture together By Joe Donnohue Leeds United's Premier League status hangs in the balance despite a stoppage time equaliser from Pascal Struijk last weekend. The Whites salvaged what could prove to be a valuable point at home to Brighton and Hove Albion as the Dutch defender connected with 20-year-old Joe Gelhardt's chipped cross to the back post. Relegation rivals Everton and Burnley both have a game in hand on United, meaning Leeds could slip back into the bottom three before Sunday afternoon's fixture versus Brentford. Regardless, a win on the final day in west London would give Leeds their best chance of survival, even if teams around them pick up points in the interim period. Supporters were dazzled by Gelhardt's assist for Struijk in the 1-1 draw against the Seagulls. Clips of the youngster cleverly negotiating his way past Lewis Dunk's outstretched leg have been sh

Leeds United 1-1 Brighton: One left - The Square Ball 16/5/22

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CONFIDENCE & INDEPENDENCE Written by: Moxcowhite • Daniel Chapman Somewhere under, beneath the burden of the sweat drenched polyester straitjacket also known as Leeds United’s 21/22 home shirt, there is still something resembling what we remember of our football team that we love. It’s hard to argue that the players, who all collapsed to the ground at the final whistle, did not give everything they could to getting a vital point against Brighton. It’s tough to tell them, as they struggle to their feet, that it still isn’t enough. Even if they’d won, we would still be needing more from them next Sunday. And people thought murderball was hard. One strategy now might be making appeals to the Premier League to only play stoppage time at Brentford. Pick a random number between one and ten to decide the number of minutes. Draw the starting scoreline out of a hat. And when the clocks in Burnley’s game against Newcastle and Everton’s at Arsenal hit ninety minutes, Leeds can kick-off

Fear and loathing at Leeds United but Whites fight on - Graham Smyth's Verdict on Brighton draw - YEP 16/5/22

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The next week will either relegate Leeds United or hand them a reprieve but, either way, the torture will leave scars. By Graham Smyth Spurs doing their job against Burnley and Leeds’ stoppage-time equaliser against Brighton has taken the fight to the very last game of the season. Even if the Clarets win their game in hand against Aston Villa on Tuesday night, Leeds will, at least, still stand a chance of survival on the final day and, by picking up a point to move out of the drop zone, they have put the onus squarely on Burnley, who now need at least one result from one of their remaining two fixtures. If Sunday was anything to go by, the next seven days will be nothing but fear, loathing and agony and there will be pain even in celebration should things go the way of Leeds, because the post mortem of this season will not be pretty for anyone concerned. The tension that Leeds chief Angus Kinnear hoped would not burden Leeds in their final 180 minutes of football is clearly w

Pascal Struijk reveals Leeds United orders before Brighton strike and hails Whites influence - YEP 15/5/22

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Pascal Struijk was brought on to help keep Brighton out but was instead left beaming after netting the goal that could yet keep Leeds United up. By Lee Sobot Leeds trailed to Danny Welbeck's 21st-minute Seagulls strike in Sunday's contest at Elland Road and looked to be heading for a fourth consecutive defeat that would have left Jesse March's side in the Premier League's bottom three. Struijk, though, came off the bench to head home a dramatic 92nd-minute equaliser that pulled Leeds above the dreaded dotted line at Burnley's expense. The Clarets have an additional fixture remaining and a far better goal difference but United's plight is at least looking healthier than it would have done without Struijk's late leveller. The defender's only other goal came in last season's 4-2 defeat at Arsenal and Struijk was left delighted by fulfilling a rather different brief and hailing the team mate who set his goal up. Twenty-year-old striker Joe Ge

Raphinha's heartfelt Elland Road moment adds fuel to Leeds United fear - YEP 15/5/22

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Raphinha soaked up Elland Road's adoration following Leeds United's last-gasp 1-1 draw with Brighton and Hove Albion By Joe Donnohue Leeds attacker Raphinha sat solemnly at the base of the goalposts beneath the Norman Hunter Stand after United drew 1-1 with Brighton and Hove Albion. The Brazilian appeared to be absorbing the remnants of an afternoon in which Pascal Struijk kept survival hopes alive with a stoppage time header. Raphinha was approached, firstly by Kalvin Phillips, and then director of football Victor Orta, as the pair spoke separately with the 25-year-old talisman. It followed United's final home game of the season, after which the first-team squad proceeded to do a lap of honour around Elland Road. Rumours linking the Brazilian with a move away from West Yorkshire have been constant throughout his second season as a Leeds player. Five months ago, links arose purporting a deal had been agreed with German giants Bayern Munich, while supposed intere