'I hadn't watched him' - Harry Redknapp has eyes opened by 'under the radar' Leeds United player

Harry Redknapp has admitted that Kalvin Phillips’ performance for England against Croatia on Sunday afternoon made him sit up and take notice of the Leeds United midfielder.
Kalvin Phillips (Photo by GLYN KIRK/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)Kalvin Phillips (Photo by GLYN KIRK/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Kalvin Phillips (Photo by GLYN KIRK/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The Elland Road favourite put in a stellar display on his major tournament debut, forming a solid partnership with Declan Rice in the centre of the park, and providing the assist for Raheem Sterling’s winner in a 1-0 victory.

For most Leeds supporters, Phillips’ impressive showing was hardly a surprise given his standout form last season, but Sunday’s game was enough to convince many neutrals that the 25-year-old has earned his place in Gareth Southgate’s plans.

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Speaking to talkSPORT on Tuesday morning, former Tottenham manager Redknapp was quick to admit that he had his eyes opened by Phillips’ dominant display at Wembley.

He said: “[I was] Very impressed!

"Like lots of people, I hadn’t watched him that carefully. He’s a player who I’ve seen play – I watch every game on TV – but he wasn’t a player like a Phil Foden who you look at and think, ‘My god!’.

"Leeds have been a little bit under the radar and had a good season, but just how good he was the other day, I thought he was fantastic. It was a real top class performance.

"He looked like a complete all-round midfield football player, and that was a big bonus for England for sure.”

Phillips’ appearance against Croatia was just his ninth in an England shirt, but has earned him rave reviews from a host of pundits, including Jose Mourinho and Roy Keane.