By Saikat Mandal

21st Nov, 2021 | 5:23pm

Matthew Upson blown away from Leeds midfielder Kalvin Phillips

Matthew Upson has showered heaps of praise on Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips during their Premier League clash against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

In the first half, Diego Llorente took a “gamble” to win a ball from Harry Kane in almost halfway line.

Upson has suggested that normally central defenders don’t do that but the Spaniard knows there would be Phillips to take care of it.

The BBC pundit has hailed the England international as “safety net” for Marcelo Bielsa’s side.

“Llorente took a gamble to step in and win the last ball. Normally you can’t do that on the half way lime as a centre back in a back four, but he knows Kalvin Philips is dropping in that space, allowing Llorente to go all the way in with Harry Kane,” said Upson on BBC Radio 5.

“It is definitely something they work on with Bielsa when facing a striker who drops deep because Phillips is a safety net.”

Tactical masterclass

In the absence of several key players including Raphinha and Rodrigo, Leeds have kept a tight shape against Spurs.

Phillips has dropped deep in defence and made some very good clearances.

The England midfielder also won a neat ball that was meant for Kane, delivered by Son Heung-Min in the first half. He was so calm and assured in the box.

Upson is absolutely spot on. The presence of Phillips at the back has allowed the likes of Pascal Struijk and Diego Llorente to express themselves.

This has been made possible with Bielsa keeping faith in Adam Forshaw to control the midfield, which he has done with great aplomb so far.

In other Leeds United news, a reliable journalist has named the big-name player that could see the Whites smash their transfer record.