Rio Ferdinand makes Marcelo Bielsa admission after Leeds United star Kalvin Phillips excels for England

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RIO Ferdinand has highlighted the impact of Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa in the development of Kalvin Phillips, helping "a great lad" become an England starter.

Former Whites defender Ferdinand watched on as Phillips made his major international tournament debut in Sunday's Euro 2020 Group D opener against Croatia at Wembley.

Phillips was playing Championship football as recently as last June and was only handed his Three Lions debut last September.

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Even Sunday's outing against Croatia was still only the midfielder's ninth cap for his country and the 25-year-old capped a superb display by setting up the only goal of the game for Raheem Sterling.

HUGE INFLUENCE: Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa. Photo by Lynne Cameron - Pool/Getty Images.HUGE INFLUENCE: Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa. Photo by Lynne Cameron - Pool/Getty Images.
HUGE INFLUENCE: Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa. Photo by Lynne Cameron - Pool/Getty Images.

Ferdinand met Phillips for a feature during newly-promoted United's first season back in the Premier League last term and says Phillips has benefitted hugely from having world renowned Argentine boss Bielsa as his club head coach.

"He's competitive, he's dynamic," said Ferdinand of Phillips in his post match analysis on BBC One.

"I thought his timing of his runs when he broke out of midfield were perfect, especially with the goal in the second half.

"But I think he is just a great lad.

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"His story is fantastic. Bielsa has been a huge, huge impact on him.

"He has had a huge influence in terms of fitness and taking care of his body.

"I went up to Leeds and spoke to him during the season and that is a big part of it.

"Nutrition and preparation are huge and that's what you get when you put it together - when you have got the ability, you get to perform at stages like this."

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