'He is the best modern midfielder I've seen' - ex England boss lauds Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips

Ex-England manager Fabio Capello has hailed Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips as the best modern midfielder he has seen.

Thursday, 1st July 2021, 4:19 pm
Updated Thursday, 1st July 2021, 4:20 pm
Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips in action for England. Pic: Getty
Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips in action for England. Pic: Getty

The Whites academy product has helped his nation into the quarter-finals of this summer's European Championships, playing every single minute under manager Gareth Southgate so far.

Phillips earned plaudits for his match-winning assist against Croatia in the opening game and has impressed having struck up a strong partnership with West Ham's Declan Rice in the heart of midfield.

The Yorkshire Pirlo, as he is affectionately known, played a pivotal role alongside the Hammers man against Germany on Tuesday at Wembley and Southgate's men are yet to concede at the delayed competition.

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England knocked their familiar foe out of the tournament at the round of 16 stage and Capello - who managed the Three Lions for five years from 2007 to 2012 - has heaped praise on the duo.

"Kalvin Phillips and Declan Rice are two phenomenal players, very different from Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard, who I coached," Capello told the Daily Mail.

"They are very functional in this England, they are two great midfielders who fight on every action.

"If England never concede a goal, they owe it to these two extraordinary guys, who even run into the locker room after every game! They are the secret of this great England.

"If the defence is iron, it is thanks to them because they protect their comrades."

Capello also hailed the Thorp Arch academy product's game but said joking comparisons to Italian legend Andrea Pirlo were wide of the mark.

"Phillips is not like Pirlo and he will never be," he added.

"He is a much faster and more aggressive player, of good quality but he is not Andrea's heir. He reflects a lot the tactical qualities of Marcelo Bielsa.

"At Leeds with Bielsa, Phillips has really grown a lot and today he is the best modern midfielder I have seen on the pitch - but no one should compare him to Pirlo."