The 25-year-old is enjoying a successful maiden Premier League campaign with Leeds this season, as his 7.02 WhoScored rating shows, and has become a key member of Gareth Southgate’s England squad as a result.
Phillips started all three of England’s World Cup qualifiers during the last international break and is widely thought to be competing with Declan Rice and Jordan Henderson for a place in Southgate’s starting XI ahead of this summer’s European Championships.
Speaking on Sky Sports Monday Night Football, Neville disclosed his opinion on the trio and gave a glowing appraisal of the ‘Yorkshire Pirlo’s’ ball-playing abilities.
“Phillips is better at passing the ball through the lines at Leeds. Henderson and Rice are good on the ball, but I think Phillips is the best out of the three on the ball in terms of accepting the ball and getting it off the back four,” said the former Manchester United defender.
“It has become a really important area for England to connect the back to the front. They’ve struggled over many, many years to be able to do that and get the ball through the midfield. Kalvin Phillips, under Bielsa, is used to getting on the ball all the time.” And the Leeds fans are clearly in agreement.
“Bielsa is a genius – he’s turned Phillips imo from average championship player to nearly a guaranteed England squad (in highly talented squad) member in the space of 2 and a half years. He’s irreplaceable at Leeds.”
“Rice is more of a box to box midfielder. Henderson has dropped deeper to play more. Phillips is the most natural defensive midfielder.”
“I was watching that last night, Gary Neville was bang on talking about him”
“Blimey you listen to Gary the red”