Kalvin Phillips has emerged as a solid player for Leeds United in the defensive midfield position. The Englishman might have underperformed in a few games here and there, but we need to realise that he is still just 23. The midfielder lost his place to Adam Forshaw once, but his recent displays must have won the supporters and the manager as well.
Former Leed United striker Noel Whelan believes that Phillips has the potential to be an England international. He was quoted as saying, ”He covers the ground so quickly, anticipates balls being played into strikers, into midfield players, he wins, he challenges.”
”He ticks every single box for me in that role. Not only has he matured as a player, but if he keeps going the way he is then I can actually see him being an international player as well. It’s the range of passing. It’s everything that you’d want in that defensive midfield role. I cannot tell you how important he is to this side when he plays.”
Phillips is not the typical workhorse type of a defensive midfield player (That doesn’t mean he has a poor work rate). The 23-year-old has the ability to be a deep-lying playmaker given his ability on the ball and he is more in the mould of a Sergio Busquets rather than a Ngolo Kante.
We are often seen how the modern day managers want all their players to be comfortable on the ball, whether its a central defender, a defensive midfielder or even a goalkeeper. Therefore Phillips has a chance of being picked up by Gareth Southgate in the future given the unique set of abilities that the Leeds United midfielder showcases.
Moreover, he reads the game well and can make some crucial interceptions as well. Bielsa has even used him as a centre back when the likes of Gaetano Berardi and Liam Cooper have been injured. His versatility and ‘footballing brain’ makes him stand out and he is going to get better with more experience.
Southgate has shown that he is willing to pick players from the Championship. Not too long ago, Mason Mount was called up for the national squad for his impressive performance for Derby County. Phillips can get promoted to the Premier League next season with Leeds United given the position they find themselves in right now. That will certainly bring him more limelight, and so we see him being used in England’s setup in the future.
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