By Kealan Hughes

28th Mar, 2021 | 5:30pm

Roy Keane praises maturity and fitness of Leeds' Kalvin Phillips

Kalvin Phillips started his second England game in a week on Sunday and Roy Keane had plenty of good things to say about the Leeds United midfielder.

Our number 23 has impressed in the Premier League season and Gareth Southgate certainly has a lot of faith in him.

Phillips was one of only four outfield England players to retain his place in the side against Albania.

Keane was part of ITV’s team for the match and was asked if Phillips could receive the nod to start if Jordan Henderson remains injured for the Euros.

He said, “Well I suppose at the moment it would be Phillips because he’s playing week in week out for Leeds.

“Of course they’re not challenging for titles but they’re just a newly-promoted team, he looks a fit lad and seems mature.

“I’ve heard some good things about him that he’s a decent lad so a nice problem for Gareth [Southgate] to have.”

Seal of approval

There is no doubt Phillips has the ability to play for England and Keane is the latest in a long line of pundits to praise the midfielder.

However, Keane’s praise of the 25-year-old’s mindset is very telling as it is an area of the game Keane believes is crucial.

Much of his own success was down to his determination and if he thinks Phillips is mature and a good character then it says a lot about the England man.

It is also unsurprising that Keane highlighted Phillips’ fitness.

Leeds players run harder than any other Premier League rival and that gives Phillips an advantage over the stars challenging his place in the England team.

In the summer the Three Lions will come up against Luka Modric and Croatia.

That will perhaps be Phillips’ biggest challenge so far in his career but we back him to do well and prove he has the quality to be as important for England as he is for the Whites.

In other Leeds United, Marcelo Bielsa must unleash Leeds pair after they impress on international duty.