Simon Hughes thinks that Liverpool defender Nat Phillips could end up playing his way into first-team contention next season based on his recent displays.
Liverpool have gone through something of a centre-back crisis this season, forcing them to scramble to sign players like Ozan Kabak and Ben Davies on transfer deadline day, but it turns out they might have found their answer hiding right under their noses.
23-year-old Phillips, who is valued at £1.62m on Transfermarkt, had found it rather hard to nail down a consistent spot in the team before coming in for some incredible praise for his performance in the victory over Wolves.
Speaking on the latest edition of The Red Agenda podcast, Hughes added to the praise for his display at Molineux whilst stating that there could be bigger things waiting for him if he carries on in that manner.
He said: “If he carries on playing like that and Liverpool end up finishing the season where they want to be, then it’s very hard not to see a future for him at the club, because he’ll have proven himself in under-pressure moments. I think Arsenal, the next game, is a big, big test for him, a big step up in quality.
“So yeah, it could be a happy accident in some ways, I think. Certainly wasn’t by design that he was going to become one of the first-choice centre-backs towards the end of the season, but you can only give him a lot of credit, because he’s shown absolutely no vulnerability, really.”
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TIF Thoughts on Simon Hughes’ comments about Nat Phillips’ future
Whilst Hughes may think Phillips might be able to play himself into being a first-team regular next season, it will probably take something very impressive to dislodge the likes of the well-established Virgil Van Dijk, Joel Matip and Joe Gomez away from their places in the starting line-up.
He can put his name into the rotation and be considered a lot more highly in terms of the overall pecking order, but to challenge for the first-team considering who is in front of him might be a step too far.