Fans will remember it fondly again, but 2021 has been a mixed year for Leeds United.
They saw their side clinch a brilliant ninth place on their return to the Premier League, but couldn’t take advantage of it inside Elland Road.
Upon their return to stadiums across England, the whites’ fortunes changed with relentless injury issues leaving them in some sort of relegation bout at the start of the season.
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There have been a number of players who have been truly impressive for Leeds this calendar year and you have the chance to vote for who you think are the best.
In the second edition of “Fans’ Footballer of the Year”, Kalvin Phillips hopes to retain his crown thanks to another excellent year for the club and the country.
He and the other three shortlisted teammates were picked by our Leeds writer Beren Cross.
Here’s what Beren said about the voting options:
Nominees: Diego Llorente, Illan Meslier, Kalvin Phillips, Raphinha
Beren on Diego Llorente: “Availability has proven to be the Spain international’s biggest issue since joining Elland Road, but when he’s been in the squad he’s been exceptional.
Signed in the delayed 2020 summer window, Llorente was not even a regular at training until February 2021 and it was no coincidence that he was a mainstay as United ended the campaign with one loss in 11 games.
“The Whites command one of the best center-back units in the league, but Llorente has reached the top. He has the physical attributes to challenge in the air and the technical ability to receive the ball under immense pressure as well as opponents divided apart from his overtaking range.
“Not without a weird tense moment in his own third, but Llorente’s confidence at the back was critical.”
Beren on Illan Meslier: “Meslier played his own crucial role between the sticks in that impressive finish last season.
“Has been called upon to act quite a bit over the past 11 months with United’s tendency to shy away from the odds with their high-risk play and Meslier’s saves have been significant.
“Like Llorente, Meslier looks every inch of the modern footballer. Happy to play from behind with his feet despite the pressure from the opposition in his own box.
“The reflexes have been amazing and his cast crucial for the way Marcelo Bielsa wants to play. He was central to the impressive wins at Leicester City, Manchester City and Burnley last season.”
Beren on Kalvin Phillips: “The name all neutrals expected to be seen as one of the Leeds’ England internationals.
“Phillips is playing at such a high level every week that it becomes hard to tell if he’s playing a bad or a great game. He’s still as good if not better than his teammates.
“Confidence has exploded with his recognition in England and he is increasingly becoming a leader on the pitch for Leeds. It was no better seen than in the 2-1-10 victory over Man City in the later stages. from last season.
“Since Bielsa took over at Elland Road, Phillips has been the only man essential to making the system work.
“As the team’s defensive midfielder, Phillips was the only man capable of providing the passing, tackling, positioning, strength and anticipation to keep the rest of the team together. player has approached his level of importance… “
Beren on Raphinha: “Quickly becoming one of the most sought-after wingers in European football after its international explosion with Brazil.
“In what has been a generally disappointing start to the season for the club, Raphinha has made Leeds look like a one-man attack for the most part. Every time he gets on the ball he looks like he’s doing it. something in the third final.
“The pace of work and lack of ego made him a valuable asset and allowed him to pass Bielsa’s teamwork test with flying colors. A big smash from Fernandinho took his campaign’s breath away in April. , but the former Rennes took over in April.
“Perhaps replaced Phillips as the team’s most important player due to his offensive impact from the side. Every inch is Elland Road’s talisman and is sure to attract some big bids next summer.”
Now that you have the options, you can vote for who you think has been the Leeds squad’s pick in this calendar year.
Whether you think Phillips should keep his crown or there should be a new name on the award, make your opinion known by filling out the form with your selection.
You can also debate which of the four deserves to win – or whether another player should have been included – in the comments section below. It is also possible to sign up to receive all the latest updates on Leeds United from Leeds Live HERE
The winner will be announced December 20 so keep an eye on our social media and the Leeds Live website for the outcome of the vote.
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