Former Arsenal defender turned popular football pundit Martin Keown has showered heaps of praise on Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips.
The Gunners legend has claimed that the 24-year-old might become the ‘most important player’ for Leeds this season.
Phillips, who impressed heavily last season in the Championship, made his debut for England recently against Denmark.
His performance was not spectacular, but he also played in a different position which is unusual to his role for Leeds. Keown feels that he is vital for Marcelo Bielsa.
“Phillips, as the deep midfielder in front of Bielsa’s defence, might be Leeds’ most important player. He impressed Gareth Southgate enough to earn an England call-up and made his debut this week against Denmark,” Keown wrote for the Daily Mail.
“His performance wasn’t spectacular, it has to be said, but he wasn’t in his usual position. He was used alongside Declan Rice in midfield. Yet he is vital to Bielsa. Phillips is used to hearing his captain and centre back Liam Cooper yelling at him not to leave too large a gap.”
Phillips has progressed massively under Bielsa, and he was arguably one of the best central midfielders in the Championship last season.
He is superb at tackling, interceptions, and ball distribution, and Leeds fans often call him by the name ‘Yorkshire Pirlo’.
Leeds, who has made a return to the Premier League after 16 long years, will face champions Liverpool on Saturday at Anfield.
Phillips will have to play a huge role if Leeds are to keep Liverpool’s attack at bay. Roberto Firmino likes to drop deep and control the game, and Phillips will have a tough battle against the Brazilian.