Leeds United returned to the top of the Championship table with a comfortable 3-0 win over Reading at the Madejski Stadium on Tuesday night, and Curtis Davies has heaped praise on Kalvin Phillips.
To a man, the Whites were excellent, and manager Marcelo Bielsa can be proud of yet another hard-working, aggressive and cohesive display from his team.
So many of the Leeds players have been transformed under the Argentine coach’s guidance, but perhaps none more than Kalvin Phillips, who was brilliant once again against the Royals.
The 23-year-old defensive-midfielder is a graduate of the Yorkshire club’s academy, and was born locally, but he has only really cemented his place in the hearts of the Elland Road faithful this season.
In fact, he was heavily criticised at times under Paul Heckingbottom, often scapegoated by fans for the team’s poor performances, so getting the call for international duty would complete a truly remarkable turnaround under Bielsa.
Are fans being priced out of the Championship as well as the Premier League? The angry Bolton fan in the video below certainly believes so…
His tenacity, work rate, positivity and commitment to the cause have caught the eye throughout the campaign, and former Premier League defender Curtis Davies believes Phillips has what it takes to go to the very top.
Speaking on Sky Sports’ Debate Show (12/03, 22:55), as quoted by HITC, Davies, a Derby County veteran, gave his verdict on which Championship players are deserving of an England international call up: “Kalvin Phillips has been brilliant in that [number 6] role. We spoke about the Fernandinho role. For Leeds, the way they are like the flying arrows. Again, two centre-halves and Kalvin Philips. The ground he covers and the work he puts in is phenomenal.”
England boss Gareth Southgate has already shown that he is willing to call up second tier players, with Stoke City’s Jack Butland and Derby County’s Mason Mount having been included in recent Three Lions squads.
Whilst a call up for Phillips would be a surprise, it wouldn’t be a terrible decision for Southgate to make. Of course, the Leeds man is untested at Premier League level, but the quality and character he has shown this season suggests that he could shine in the top flight, and Southgate doesn’t really have a player of this type in his squad.
If given the chance to represent his country, Phillips could certainly be relied upon to give everything he has for the team. Davies’ comparison of Phillips with Manchester City’s Fernandinho may be going over the top, but the Englishman’s potential should not be underestimated or ignored just because he doesn’t ply his trade in the top flight.