By David Woods

29th Mar, 2021 | 7:37am

Troy Deeney claims Leeds ace has the 'legs and the nastiness' to play for England

Kalvin Phillips is a huge player for Leeds United but one word that doesn’t come to mind when talking about his game is “nastiness”. 

Phillips plays with a smile on his face and is a tenacious player but we wouldn’t describe him as nasty.

However, that’s what Troy Deeney said about him – in a good way.

Phillips started again for England as they recorded back-to-back World Cup qualifier wins.

The 2-0 win against Albania made it a perfect start for England after a 5-0 win over San Marino on Thursday.

The discussion on the Breakfast show on talkSPORT this morning (6.20am) was guaranteed starters for England in the Euros this summer.

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Phillips and Declan Rice both started the game against Albania but Deeney thinks the West Ham player has the edge in the summer.

“Looking at Phillips from Leeds – he’s got the legs and he’s got that nastiness in him.

“But Declan Rice is going to be the one who is constant.

“It will be interesting to see how he does in the Euros this summer, and whether that solidifies somebody from the top clubs paying the £50-60 million it takes to get him.”

Deeney right but Phillips doing us proud

Nasty? Phillips can put in the odd hard tackle but we’re surprised at how he’s been characterised by Deeney. Tough but fair seems more apt for Phillips.

And he put in another impressive performance for England, winning his sixth cap against Albania.

It’s surely guaranteed him a spot on the place this summer but will he start?

We can’t see Southgate playing both Rice and Phillips in the Euros and we actually hope he doesn’t.

England are blessed with a huge array of attacking talent and we’d much prefer Southgate to play a more progressive formation.

Phillips has impressed us, though, and not just because we’re Leeds fans.

His numbers against Albania were fantastic, with a 93.1% pass accuracy and 31 opposition half passes.

He won five duels, made two crosses and created one chance. [LUFCDATA]

It’s the sort of numbers we’ve come to expect from him at Leeds.

Sky Sports gave Rice a seven in their ratings from the game but said that Phillips was an “unconvincing” six.

They said, “Saw plenty of the ball but too many passes went sideways or backwards. Deployed further upfield after the break but no surprise when he was the first England player to be replaced after 70 minutes.”

We think that’s tough but we wouldn’t argue with Deeney that Rice is probably ahead of Phillips as we head into the Euros.

Rice is also a starter for both Robbie Savage and Chris Sutton.

In other Leeds United news, ‘Phenomenal’ – Sky Sports pundit gushes over Leeds star after int’l display