Dean Smith reflects on Aston Villa interest in Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips and absence similar to Leicester City losing Jamie Vardy
DEAN Smith has confirmed that Aston Villa were interested in signing Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips last summer and says the midfielder's absence is comparable to Leicester City losing Jamie Vardy.
Whites Academy graduate Phillips was the subject to high profile interest from a number of Premier League clubs last summer with United rebuffing multiple offers in excess of £20m.
Smith says Villa's interest never progressed past the "initials talks stage" with the Villa boss saying his men were priced out of any move for Phillips due to United's valuation of the player.
Smith, though, says the Whites were absolutely right to value their midfielder so highly and the Villa manager admits his side will definitely be helped by the Leeds midfielder missing Friday night's Premier League clash against United at Villa Park with a shoulder injury.
Villa approach the contest looking to make it five wins out of five with the Midlands outfit having maintained their 100 per cent start with last Sunday's 1-0 win at Leicester City for whom star striker Vardy was out injured.
Leeds being without Phillips, says Smith, is comparable.
Smith told Birmingham Live: "He was on a list of players that we were interested in.
"As far as I was aware it never got past initial talks stage with the price tag they wanted and rightly so if you look at their season last year and what they're going now."
Reflecting on Leeds being without Phillips to face his side, Smith admitted: "Yeah (it's a boost), similar to Vardy not being in the Leicester team.
"He's been pivotal to the way they play and has rightly earned his way into the England team as well."
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Thank you Laura Collins