Former Tottenham Hotspur striker turned football pundit Darren Bent has said that Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips is the best player in the Championship.
However, Bent has also suggested that the 23-year-old is playing in the wrong division, and that he should have been playing for a Premier League club.
Bent says that Phillips is slightly better than Romaine Sawyers, who was outstanding against Stoke City and helped West Brom reach the top of the Championship table.
Phillips, who came through the youth ranks at Leeds, has taken his game to a whole new level under the guidance of Marcelo Bielsa.
“I have got five on my list,” Bent told TalkSport. “You can only pick one and I agree with Kalvin Phillips. For me, he is the best player in the Championship. He is so key to what Leeds do.
“He is playing in the wrong division. I think he should be in the Premier League and I think Romaine Sawyers should be in the Premier League. Those two are good enough to be in that midfield as the anchor because they are very good on the ball.
“Where Kalvin edges Romaine just a little bit is his energy. Romaine on the ball, it’s just so nice, pass the ball, it’s all about one pace and no-one can seem to get the ball off him. Whereas, Phillips flys into tackles. I have seen him play centre-back, wins his headers, he takes set-plays and has a great delivery. His intensity and aggression I think that is why he pips it for me.”
Can Leeds hold on to Phillips?
The midfielder’s rapid progress didn’t go unnoticed with several big clubs having made an attempt to sign him in the summer transfer window.
According to reports from The Express, Leeds rejected a £27million bid from Tottenham Hotspur.
Aston Villa also reportedly showed interest in signing him, while the likes of Manchester United, Wolves, Sheffield United, and Burnley are monitoring the player.
Phillips has signed a long-term deal with Leeds which gives the Yorkshire club advantage on the negotiation club in case they need to offload him.
The Whites have no intention of selling him, but they may find hard to keep hold of him if they fail to secure promotion this term.