By Craig Scott

25th Sep, 2020 | 8:30pm

'I sat back and thought...' - Rio Ferdinand tells Leeds player his first impression of him in PL

Rio Ferdinand has told Kalvin Phillips he was impressed with the midfielder’s Premier League debut when Leeds United lost 4-3 to Liverpool earlier this month.

Phillips, 24, has taken a meteoric rise since Marcelo Bielsa was appointed in charge of the Whites in 2018 with the Argentine transforming him into a holding midfielder who dictates the play from deep.

Speaking in an interview for BT Sport, Ferdinand told Phillips his first impressions of him when he played at Anfield.

“I watched your first game in the Premier League and I sat back and thought: ‘Well, we’ve been looking for a deep-lying player in the England shirt, let alone in the Premier League. But an English player who can play 40 or 50 yard balls with ease’,” Ferdinand told Phillips, as shown in a video on the BT Sport website.

We don’t know how much Ferdinand watched of Phillips when he was in the Championship but everyone who followed the EFL knew how good the Leeds midfielder was.

He was clearly a Premier League player playing a division too low and we’ve seen already that he’s been more than comfortable in making the step up to the top-flight.

A lot of people who only follow the Premier League or England’s ‘big-six’ will have had their first impression of Phillips in his England debut against Denmark in the UEFA Nations League.

He didn’t stand out in that match but it is fair to say that Gareth Southgate’s mismanagement of the midfielder led to a lot of people getting the wrong idea about him.

If you watched Phillips against Liverpool and Fulham – or at any point in the Championship – you will see what the player is all about and why he is easily the most valuable player on the books at Elland Road.

In other Leeds United news, fans have been raving about his “beast” of a midfielder after he was linked with the Whites.