Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville has suggested that Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips has learned more in the Premier League and with the England national side than he ever had before with the Yorkshire club.
The international break for the England national side has been an inconsistent one, seeing Gareth Southgate’s side pick up a 3-0 friendly win over Wales before going on to beat number one ranked side Belgium in their Nations League A Group 2 match.
That impressive win was not followed up, however, losing 1-0 at Wembley to Denmark on Wednesday evening in a game that saw former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Christian Eriksen score from the penalty spot.
England now sit third in League A Group 2 behind Belgium and Denmark and the pressure will be on Southgate to produce the goods next time round.
Neville’s bizarre Phillips claim
Having become one of the key performers in Marcelo Bielsa’s side over the last 12 months, Phillips has continued that form into the Premier League campaign.
Such form has seen the defensive midfielder become a recent regular for England, gaining widespread praise for his performance against Wales in what was one of his four international caps for the Three Lions.
Since then, during the Denmark clash on Wednesday evening, former Manchester United and England defender Neville opted to make a claim about Phillips’ development and rise to become an England regular.
Speaking around the 40th minute mark on commentary for Sky Sports (14/10/20), Neville said: “What a learning curve for Kalvin Phillips. He’s probably learned more in the last 4-6 weeks than he has done in the last 4-6 years.”
“Playing for England at Denmark. Playing here tonight, down to ten men and playing that game against Manchester City a week last Saturday, which was just breathtaking against De Bruyne and others.
“He has learnt more in the last 4-6 weeks than he has probably in the last 4-6 years.”
Phillips will be back in action next Monday evening as Leeds face Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League.
What to make of Neville’s comments?
Neville’s comments could be seen by some as a bit strange, as Phillips’ development over the last 4-6 years has been mightily impressive, especially since the arrival of Bielsa.
Whilst you can see where Neville is coming from with his comments regarding England and the draw with Manchester City, you have to wonder whether Phillips would have developed at such a rapid rate if Bielsa had not arrived at Leeds – the answer is most likely no.
Since the Argentine arrived at Elland Road in June 2018, Phillips has featured in 90 of the former Athletic Bilbao coach’s 105 games in charge, and although Neville wasn’t explicitly saying Gareth Southgate has done a better job mentoring the youngster than Bielsa, his comments may leave a sour taste in the mouths of some Whites fans.
Do you agree with Neville’s comments? Let us know in the comments section below…
Click here to comment on this articleor
Give us feedback on your Football Transfer Tavern experience