Neil Redfearn says recent talk about 'perfect' Leeds player is 'absolutely warranted'
Former Leeds United manager Neil Redfearn has backed Kalvin Phillips to earn a call-up for the England national side.
Phillips, 24, has been one of the stand-out players in the Championship over the last couple of seasons with Marcelo Bielsa’s management having a major impact on the midfielder.
During his time at Leeds, Refearn coached Phillips and claims that when he was younger, he was seen more as a box-to-box midfielder who got forward and was able to bag the goals.
However that role has transformed since Bielsa came in and it’s now led to discussions that Phillips can play as a defensive midfielder for England.
“The talk of Kalvin playing for England is absolutely warranted — and he is at a good age for it,” Redfearn told the Sun.
“Some argue you need to be playing in the Premier League but if you are good enough, it doesn’t matter.
“I don’t think there are many players with Kalvin’s ability to play the holding role to such good effect.”
England’s defensive midfield options are not exactly the best.
Declan Rice has been criticised in pretty much every single one of his appearances for the Three Lions while Eric Dier’s form for club and country is not impressive either.
Rice, 20, has been Gareth Southgate’s go-to defensive midfielder in recent internationals but Redfearn has suggested Phillips is a better option.
“West Ham’s Declan Rice is a good young player but no better than Kalvin, who would definitely give something to England,” the ex-Leeds boss added.
“Leeds create overloads all over the field. Bielsa is very clever with that but Kalvin is key to it.
“He is the perfect build for that position, a powerful player but also has a fantastic range of passing.
“When he was younger, we used to have him as a box-to-box player who would score plenty of goals.
“Bielsa has made Kalvin an expert deep-lying midfielder but he could do both roles.”
Phillips definitely should be in the next England squad based on how well he’s played this season and the fact that the competition in his position is so poor.
It will be interesting to see how well the 24-year-old can play when Bielsa isn’t managing him because before the Argentine came in, he was pretty much a bit-part player.
Southgate is a good manager but he’s no Bielsa so it remains to be seen how Phillips can perform on a big international stage.
In other Leeds United news, these Premier League fans do not want to lose their player to Leeds with the Whites reportedly interested.