McLeish hails Phillips class

Birmingham City manager Alex McLeish paid tribute to a clinical Kevin Phillips after his late double settled Sunday's derby with Wolves in his side's favour.

Two predatory finishes in the final five minutes from the 36-year-old substitute secured a 2-1 win and local bragging rights for the Blues.

Struggling Wolves had led 1-0 courtesy of a first-half strike from Kevin Doyle.

"Kevin will never lose that ability he has got in the box," explained McLeish.

"He might lose his teeth, he might go bald and his legs will go at some stage, but he will always have that magnificent technique and touch of a top player.

"The morale of any player can be affected when they have been a first-choice player all their career and then find they are not playing every week but Kevin has been an exemplary professional."

McLeish also revealed that he turned down offers from the 36-year-old former Sunderland and Aston Villa striker during the transfer window.

"I spoke to him after the transfer window closed, during which time we had had enquiries from all sorts of clubs," continued McLeish, who has only handed Phillips one league start this season.

"I didn't really want him to go and I've told him he would have more game time during the second half of the season.

"He was delighted to hear that and we saw a spring in his step in training. He ghosts into areas where the ball might drop, and that is the mark of a genius."

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