Danny Murphy was blown away by Kalvin Phillips’ performance in the Leeds United midfielder on Saturday as the Whites beat Everton 1-0 at Goodison Park.
Leeds fans do not need to be reminded how good Phillips, 24, is but it’s always nice to hear pundits wax lyrical about the England international.
Before the 0-0 draw with Arsenal last week, Phillips had missed three matches due to a shoulder injury with Marcelo Bielsa seeing his side suffer two heavy defeats.
But since he’s returned, the Whites have not conceded against two of the better teams in the division and have four points to show for it.
Ex-Liverpool midfielder Murphy is fully aware of how vital Phillips is to Leeds and he has suggested he could be vital to Gareth Southgate’s England next year.
“They missed him recently in the Leicester game when they lost 4-1 and the Palace game when they lost 4-1,” said Murphy on BBC One’s Match of the Day on Saturday.
“In a formation where they do rotate positions and bomb about all over the pitch, he’s the one that keeps his position, dictates play, ticks them over, breaks up play.
“He’s got great variation in his game and is more productive with his passing.
“He’ll be challenging the likes of Declan Rice and [Jordan] Henderson in the England team, I’ve got no doubt in the coming months if he’s playing like this.
“He’s probably one of the few players in the team they can’t rotate because as I’ve said when he’s missing, they don’t play as well.”
Just before Murphy’s analysis, Match of the Day showed a graphic of the midfielder’s stats against Everton
As you can see, no one was more influential in the game than the Leeds-born ace.
BBC Sport pundit Murphy added: “We saw in his stats his fitness levels are tremendous, reading play. He’s got everything you need to play that position.
“The best thing Leeds did was keeping him in the year they didn’t come up because he’s a local lad and wanted to stay. Thank god for Leeds he did.”
Phillips is getting better and better.
He was the star of the Championship last season and thoroughly deserved his call-ups to the England squad from Southgate earlier this year.
Unfortunately, one caveat to Phillips is that he does suffer several minor injuries throughout the season which means that he does miss a handful of games every now and then.
While Leeds managed to cope without the 24-year-old in the Championship, they will be found out more often without him in the Premier League because there’s no one who plays his role as well.
It could be an area for Bielsa and Victor Orta to consider adding to ahead of the January transfer window – a good young understudy to Phillips who won’t mind not playing as often but is there to slot in when needed.
Yes, Leeds do have other players who can play the holding midfield role like Adam Forshaw, Mateusz Klich, Robin Koch and Pascal Struijk but none of them can do it anywhere near as well as the England star.
In other Leeds United news, Gary Lineker was wowed by this “gem” for his display against Everton.