By David Woods

26th Feb, 2020 | 12:38pm

'Phenomenal' – Steve McClaren makes big claim about Leeds player who is 'maturing'

Former England manager Steve McClaren has said that Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips has the “credentials, the ability, the talent” to play for England. 

McClaren was talking on Sky Sports on Wednesday morning when he was asked about reports claiming that Phillips was on the verge of a call-up to the national squad.

McClaren heaped praise on Leeds’ midfield maestro but had a warning for the 24-year-old, saying the step-up to national level is “phenomenal”.

Talking on Football Centre (Sky Sports, Wednesday, 11.30am), McClaren also said that he never considered Championship players when he was England manager.

“The step up to England is phenomenal in terms of mentality, physicality, mobility,” said McClaren.

“Phillips has got the credentials, the ability, the talent, he’s maturing, he’s got to take that step.”

Asked if he would have considered playing Championship players McClaren replied saying it was “always Premier League. Always Premier League players. We had to see them in that type of environment.”

He said injuries could change that but he wanted Premier League and European experience ideally.

The level that Phillips has moved up to is possibly the most visible change since Marcelo Bielsa took over.

Before Bielsa turned up Phillips was an average player delivering limited attacking returns.

Bielsa has turned him into a player that is being talked about as a £30m star and he looks like he’s on the verge of an England call-up.

With the Euros next summer that’s an exciting prospect for Phillips but speaking purely as selfish Leeds fans, we hope he’s ignored by Gareth Southgate until we’re in the Premier League.

Leeds have 12 games between now and promotion and we need Phillips for every game. We don’t want to risk him picking up an injury on an international break and we’d rather he was resting while the England squad were being put through their paces.

In other Leeds United news, ‘Just turn up; Points are yours’ – Some Boro fans fume after report drops ahead of clash v Leeds