Manchester United's Paul Pogba gave Leeds United star Kalvin Phillips an insight into Premier League quality
Leeds United’s pre-season tour of Australia gave Kalvin Phillips an up-close-and-personal introduction to the standard he will need to achieve should Leeds get promoted.
The midfielder, who demanded to go on the trip despite picking up a knock just before the Whites jetted off Down Under, came face to face with Premier League quality talent when Leeds United took on Manchester United in a friendly at Optus Stadium in Perth.
Leeds lost 4-0.
Phillips counts that game as one of his most difficult encounters yet, chiefly because of the man standing opposite him in the Red Devils’ midfield, French international Paul Pogba.
“When we played Manchester United in pre-season, they had a lot of good players,” said the 23-year-old when asked about the best opposition players he has come up against.
“Pogba didn’t look his best but you noticed the difference between Premier League and Championship level.
“He’s probably one of the best midfielders in the world.
“That was one of my toughest tests so far.”
The summer didn’t just hand Phillips an in-depth insight into Premier League football, it brought potential opportunity.
Aston Villa were among a number of clubs showing serious interest in Leeds’ homegrown midfielder.
They tabled a bid in excess of £20m, while Burnley also made an offer and and Sheffield United made known their admiration.
The Whites managed to hold onto Phillips however and the player signalled his own intentions by signing a new longterm contract at Elland Road.
If he is to come face to face with Manchester United again, in a league fixture, he wants to be wearing the white of his boyhood club.
“When I was younger, Leeds were in the Premier League and you could see what it meant to the fans,” he said.
“It would be a dream come true for me to be in the Premier League with this club.”