Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Whelan Tips Newcastle United To Recruit This Liverpool Defender: Right Fit For Howe?

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Abhinab Ghosh
A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.

In a recent interview with Football Insider, ex-Leeds United forward Noel Whelan tipped Newcastle United to recruit Liverpool defender Nathaniel Phillips. Whelan said,

“It’s not just West Ham, look at Newcastle. He could be a potential incoming as well in January.

“He’d give them that strength in depth in those centre-half positions where they’ve really struggled.

“He’s an English player who knows the Premier League.

“Someone that can take on that mantle, has been at a very good club and played the right way.”

Phillips’ Impressive Rise At Anfield

Phillips has found game time hard to come by at the Merseyside club during this campaign but has still played a valuable role for Liverpool in the cup competitions. The Bolton-born defensive ace has made three senior appearances for the Reds this season, receiving 144 minutes of playing time across all fronts.

The English talent played a more prominent role at Anfield in the previous campaign when he participated in 20 matches, finding the back of the net once and providing one assist for Liverpool in all competitions. Phillips did well to average 1.3 tackles, 1.2 interceptions and 4.8 clearances per game in Premier League football last season. He even took care of the ball when distributing it out from the back, based on his pass completion rate of 84.2% in top-flight football (stats via whoscored).

Newcastle United (Nathaniel Phillips)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – MAY 23: Match Referee, Craig Pawson signals for medical treatment for Nathaniel Phillips of Liverpool after picking up an injury to his eye during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Crystal Palace at Anfield on May 23, 2021 in Liverpool, England. A limited number of fans will be allowed into Premier League stadiums as Coronavirus restrictions begin to ease in the UK. (Photo by Paul Ellis – Pool/Getty Images)
The 4th Official uses images provided by the following image agency:
Getty Images (https://www.gettyimages.de/)
Imago Images (https://www.imago-images.de/)

Is Phillips The Right Fit For Newcastle United Manager Eddie Howe?

Phillips can use his towering 1.90m frame to dominate the opposition attackers in the air and is usually quick to spot the danger inside his half. He doesn’t shy away from putting his foot through the ball when needed and can time his challenges well to earn the ball back for his side on the defensive end of the field.

The Liverpool centre-half excels at playing his way out from the back, so he won’t take any time to settle into Eddie Howe‘s style of play at St. James’ Park. We can expect Phillips to bring a lot of bite and steel to Newcastle‘s backline.

Thus, the English defender will be an ideal fit for the Magpies as long as Howe is planning to give him regular playing minutes at St. James’ Park. Phillips might serve as an upgrade over Fabian Schar and could go on to form a solid defensive partnership with Jamaal Lascelles at the Tyneside club in the coming seasons.

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