While Leeds United fans will be eager to watch Kalvin Phillips in action when England take on Denmark in the semi-finals of EURO 2020, they might want to be keeping a closer eye on another player on show tonight; Mikkel Damsgaard.
Reports in recent days have claimed that Marcelo Bielsa’s side have got their sights set on the Sampdoria star, with Turkish publication Sabah claiming that the Whites, along with the likes of Barcelona, Juventus and Liverpool, among others, are all interested in signing him.
And, after news emerged of Leeds’ interest in the winger, Noel Whelan threw his backing behind a potential move.
He said: “Wow, now he would be a signing. From what I have seen, he is the next big thing coming out of Denmark. Again, we are looking at players who are the right age and of the right profile. Somebody who would compliment what Marcelo Bielsa already has.
“Leeds nowadays are very intense and aggressive in their style of play and fitness plays a huge part. He looks to me as if he could do that as well, which is important because it’s not just about the little flicks. Damsgaard is a very exciting prospect. If we could get that deal over the line it would show just how far we’ve come in the last couple of years.”
More than the fact the 20-year-old enjoyed an impressive campaign with Sampdoria going forward – he scored two goals and provided four assists, including against the likes of Inter and Milan – it’s his defensive work that marks him out as the kind of player that Bielsa needs at Elland Road.
Sofascore lifts one of the left-winger’s biggest strengths as his “high pressing”, and when you look at his defensive numbers, it’s clear to see why.
Despite the position he plays, he averaged an impressive 1.2 tackles and 0.7 interceptions per game in Serie A – only Jack Harrison betters his tackles per game among Leeds’ attacking players, while only Raphinha made more interceptions.
Dubbed as “magical” by Norwegian football expert Martin Mikkelsen, he also added that the 21-year-old is “dynamic and can go both ways. He is creative but also so mature in his decisions.”
And that ability to be an influence going forward, but not forgetting his defensive duties makes him the perfect wide player for Bielsa.
The £26m-rated star has also been hailed as being “phenomenal” by Denmark teammate, Kasper Schmeichel, for his performances in the competition this summer, and England will be hoping that he doesn’t turn up with a big-time performance.
But while Leeds fans will be desperate for Phillips to do well, they may want to keep a close eye on a player who Victor Orta wants to sign ahead of the new Premier League season.