Former Newcastle midfielder Steve Howey has heaped heavy praise on Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips.
The midfielder has been an omnipresent cog in Marcelo Bielsa’s machine since the Argentine took over the reins at Elland Road.
In his debut Premier League campaign, Phillips has taken his game to the next level and has found himself a regular in Gareth Southgate’s England squad.
He’s rarely put a foot wrong on the international stage either, giving Southgate a major selection dilemma with Declan Rice and Jordan Henderson bound to be the other midfield options available to the Three Lions.
Phillips’ performances for club and country have seen Howey make a U-turn on his stance on the midfielder.
Discussing how he was won over by the 25-year-old, he told Football FanCast, “I think a lot of clubs will be looking at him in the summer, but I must admit that I wasn’t 100% sure what all the fuss was about with Kalvin Phillips.
“I saw him against Everton, and at the time I was with Gareth Southgate and I said to him, ‘yeah he is a top player.’
“He’s comfortable on the ball, his distribution is very good and then you put him in the England team, and it looks as though he’s been there for years.”
About time he’s seen the light
Howey hasn’t been the only one who found Phillips overrated. During our days in the Championship, rival fans mocked the ‘Yorkshire Pirlo’ moniker, rather than appreciating what a truly special midfielder we had at Elland Road.
But, since he’s taken his performances to a whole new level in the Premier League, everyone’s started to take note of his brilliance.
He has the capability to play that eye of the needle pass but is equally efficient at keeping the opposition at bay.
Last weekend, he was a thorn in Bruno Fernandes’ side, who has been one of the best players of the season.
Phillips bullied him for strength and precision and rattled the Portugal international to no end.
That was just one of the handful of masterclasses he’s put in this season, and we’re not surprised that there are talks about other clubs interested in signing him.
He’s truly a special player and on the cusp of being world class. Credit to Bielsa and his coaching staff for helping Phillips realise his true potential.
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