By Graham Hill
DEAN Smith will be keeping an eye on the Leeds United team-sheet at Bristol City on Sunday.
Because if midfielder Kalvin Phillips is playing a key role then Villa can all but forget about signing him.
Reports circulated on Friday that Villa have been back in for the player with a fresh £15million bid.
But Villa Roar has been told by Leeds sources that they have no knowledge of a new offer – and even if one came in now, it is likely it would be rejected.
Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa plans to name Philips in his squad for the clash at Ashton Gate.
But he admits that it will be out of his hands if the club decide to sell.
Villa look to have more than enough in midfield for now after signing Douglas Luiz from Manchester City and Marvelous Nakamba from Bruges.
But Smith is an obvious admirer of Phillips, although his interest could be put on ice if Leeds play him in the season’s opener.
Bielsa told reporters: “If he stays here, I’ll choose him in the 18 players in the squad but I can’t decide if he stays here or leaves
Kalvin is an example for everyone, in the context that he is very professional after all the speculation.
“Kalvin is showing us that you be a good player and respect the values – that is very difficult to find.
“He’s teaching us how to live the professional life in football and behave in the right way.
“He deserves all the good things, I know the risk I am taking.
“It’s possible I have to decide in this game whether he is on the bench or not.
“I am not stupid. But it’s not all about the money. If you are professional the money will come for you. The last part of that sentence will be for Kalvin.”