Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips was absolutely sensational in his match against Croatia and his brilliant assist laid on England’s winning goal for Raheem Sterling as the Croats were beaten 1-0 by the Three Lions at Wembley on Sunday.
25-year-old Phillips was undoubtedly the star of the show, despite UEFA’s official MOTM award going to Sterling. Phillips though has been exuberantly hailed by fans and pundits alike after a display full of maturity despite it being only his ninth cap.
“He’s been our best player, quite easily. He’s been brilliant,” said pundit Jermaine Jenas after Phillips’ display at Wembley.
With Declan Rice dropping deeper and offering protection to the defence, Phillips was able to play in a more advanced role.
And such was Phillips’ performance that Real Madrid have taken immediate notice of ‘The Yorkshire Pirlo’.
A recent report from Defensa Central claims that Madrid will monitor Phillips for the rest of Euro 2020, with the report referring to Phillips as ‘Lord of Midfield’ after putting Real star Luka Modric in the shade for 90 minutes.
Phillips recorded a 94% passing accuracy, with all of his long passes finding their target, besides being successful with two of his three attempted take-ons, which is why he is firmly locked in on Madrid’s radar.
New Real boss Carlo Ancelotti is keen to strengthen his midfield for next season with the Italian said to have a big interest in Manuel Locatelli and Nicolo Barella, and now Phillips may well find himself on that list.
Phillips’ market value of €30m, according to the Spanish outlet, does look woefully low, given that Leeds turned that down for him two years ago. Leeds though will be desperate to get him quickly tied to a new deal on his return from international duty.
The Leeds-born star’s contract runs until 2024 after penning the five-year contract in 2019. It’s most likely that the Whites will have to review that deal, in the region of £30,000 a week, this summer if Phillips’ imperious form should continue for the remainder of the tournament.
Having grown in stature over the last three years, Leeds’ gamble to turn down Aston Villa and keep Phillips at the start of their Championship title-winning campaign has indeed proved a masterstroke.
Phillips himself has admitted he was tempted by the Villa Park move in the summer of 2019 but admitted on Football Focus his late grandmother had persuaded him to stay in West Yorkshire.
“I told her about Aston Villa being in touch and she was like ‘oh no, you are not doing that.’ I was like ‘what do you mean? It’s a chance to play Premier League football. I have always wanted to do it.’
“She said ‘you have been at Leeds for ten years now, you were this close to going up. Why not give it one more shot to try and make it up. Try and do something that Leeds fans and your family will never forget and stick it out.’”
Per the source, “Real Madrid will be very attentive to see if it can be a good option for the future.” And Los Blancos will have no qualms in at least tripling that offer.
Credit: Football Tribe Malaysia