Jermaine Jenas has been waxing lyrical about Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips after his performance in the 4-3 defeat at Liverpool on Saturday.
Although it wasn’t the result that fans wanted at Anfield, Leeds’ performance was extremely encouraging as they kept the reigning Premier League champions on their toes for 90 minutes and almost walked away with what would have been a deserved point.
Phillips, 24, was yet again key for Leeds as he played in the holding midfield role.
According to stats by WyScout, the new England international completed 85 per cent of the 47 passes he attempted against Liverpool to help Leeds become just the fourth newly-promoted team to have more possession at Anfield in a Premier League match.
Phillips also completed 83 per cent of his long-range passes and ex-Tottenham star Jenas has likened the Leeds midfielder to a quarter-back due to the way he always seems to know where his team-mates are.
“It’s organised and drilled and there’s a reason why Kalvin Phillips is looking like a world-beater, it’s because he can play almost with his eyes closed,” Jenas said on Match of the Day 2 on Sunday night, as shown on Twitter.
“It’s like when we speak about quarter-backs and they know when they’ve got to make a play and they get that ball and they’ve got to drop it into the pocket, that’s what Kalvin Phillips is doing.
“He’s getting the ball and he’s turning. He knows [Pablo] Hernandez is in there, he knows [Mateusz] Klich’s in there if he wants him. He’s got options and that is what Bielsa has given him.”
"Leeds won't change the way they play and why should they?"#MOTD2 looks back at Liverpool v Leeds from Saturday.
— Match of the Day (@BBCMOTD) September 13, 2020
Jenas isn’t saying anything that Leeds fans do not know already but after he was criticised for his performance for England last week, it’s great to see Phillips receiving some well-deserved plaudits.
Hopefully, it shows to the England fans who slammed Phillips’ display in Denmark that he is a far better player than what it looked like in the 0-0 draw in the Nations League as the midfielder was completely mismanaged by Gareth Southgate.
Phillips is bound to become the star of the season for Leeds this season and we cannot wait to see how he gets on in other matches because that was, on paper, the toughest game the Whites could have all season.
It could keep getting better and better for Phillips – but we don’t recommend he does play with his eyes closed.
He’s good, but we don’t think Bielsa can get him to play that well.
In other Leeds United news, this broadcaster has slammed Bielsa for a “lame alibi” after the defeat to Liverpool.