Journalist Benji Lanyado has recently made a claim regarding the performance of Leeds United’s Kalvin Phillips against Tottenham Hotspur.
During the latest round of Premier League fixtures, the Whites travelled to The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and were beaten 3-0 by Jose Mourinho’s side (per BBC).
On the day, Harry Kane was deployed upfront for the hosts in north London and he managed to bag a goal and provide an assist for his side (per WhoScored).
Meanwhile, Marcelo Bielsa deployed Phillips as the lone defensive midfielder in their 4-1-4-1 starting formation.
In the latest episode of The Totally Football Show, Lanyado spent some time analysing Spurs’ convincing victory against the Whites and made a claim about Phillips. (22:30)
He said: “[Spurs] kept on dropping Kane into the number 10 position and [Heung-min] Son was there and [Steven] Bergwijn was there at times, and [Tanguy] Ndombele was there at times [too].
“When Phillips was up against Kane, I honestly felt like he was slightly pulling his punches.
“As a fringe England player up against the England captain six months before a tournament, I do wonder, how hard do I really want to go in on Harry Kane as Kalvin Phillips at this moment in time?
“I wonder if we’ll see more of that from other English defenders.”
TIF Thoughts on what Benji Lanyado said about Kalvin Phillips…
As can be seen in what the journalist had to say, he felt that the English midfielder may have been “pulling his punches” slightly on Kane with the Euros on the horizon.
Do you agree that Kalvin Phillips could have been pulling his punches against Tottenham?
No, I don't think so
Yes, I think he did
Despite the claim, the 25-year-old midfielder actually made two interceptions and a whopping six tackles in the 3-0 defeat to Spurs (per WhoScored).
Both of those figures come above his average across the Premier League season as a whole, with him having averaged 2.9 tackles and 1.7 interceptions per league game.
So, the statistics would suggest that Phillps was more adept against Spurs defensively than he has been in other games.