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Kalvin Phillips has ensured that teammates like Raphinha are fully aware of the importance of the Premier League clash between Leeds and Manchester United on Sunday.
One of the spiciest rivalries in English football will be renewed in the league for the first time since 2004 at Old Trafford.
In normal times Leeds Fans would cross the Pennines in large numbers, but while the game will be played behind closed doors, that won’t diminish the passion of those at home.
Phillips He was only eight at the time of that last league match, but he was born in the city and has played for the club since the age of 14, so he doesn’t need an introduction to his importance.
He told the Palestinian Authority news agency: “I have relatives who have been talking about it for two or three weeks, so I am eager to get started.
“I’ve been trying to tell everyone, the new guys that have been arriving, how important this game is, not just for the club but for the fans. We have Raphinha, I’m not sure she knows the importance of the game. I gave him a little pat on the back of his neck and told him so. “
Having finally returned to the Premier League, Leeds have done a good job adjusting to the demands of the division and are 13th after a 5-2 weeknight win over Newcastle.
Phillips said: “We got off to a really good start. We had a couple of bad results and that brought us back to reality. We know that we are a good team, but we know that we have to work hard to win every game and we have to keep doing it.
“Obviously I would love to beat Man United, and if that happens, great, but if not, we will move on to the next game.”
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Phillips making a stop
The game has additional meaning for Phillips, who will sport the Show Racism The Red Card charity logo on his boots.
The organization has provided anti-racism education to more than 825,000 people and Phillips is proud to lend his voice to the cause.
The 25-year-old is particularly interested in reaching young people and says, “I think some adults don’t want to be educated about certain things anymore.
“Especially for young children who see it on a day-to-day basis where maybe a family member is quite racist and they don’t understand it, they just accept it.”
Phillips’ motivation is also personal in terms of direct experience of racism.
He said: “There has been a time where it has been me, but it has been something that I have shrugged my shoulders and I have not paid much attention, but I have friends who live two minutes away and their next door neighbors have been racist with them they enter and leave the house.
“For being so close to home, it’s quite sad and quite disturbing. I want to use my platform and who I am as a footballer and as a person to try to spread it and tell as many people as possible about the campaign. “
READ MORE: Bielsa has her own memories of Old Trafford before the Man Utd crash