Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips has already made Manchester United feelings clear amid fresh paper talk
Paper talk will likely become part and parcel of Kalvin Phillips’ life as an England player in the Premier League but the latest round has linked the Leeds United midfielder to an unlikely destination.
Phillips has already made his feelings towards the Whites’ arch-rivals Manchester United abundantly clear.
The Yorkshire Pirlo, as he is affectionately known in West Yorkshire, is Whites through and through - becoming the face of the club he supported as a boy growing up in his home city.
"Describe what Man United means..." Phillips was asked by BT Sport ahead of August's opening day trip to Old Trafford in the Premier League.
"To me?" he responded with a large smirk. "It doesn't mean anything."
Phillips has enjoyed a stunning 12 months since stepping into the top flight limelight with his boyhood club following his rise through the Thorp Arch ranks.
An impressive first season of Premier League football, where Marcelo Bielsa's side finished ninth in the standings, was followed up by featuring in every game for England under Gareth Southgate in the Three Lions' charge to the Euro 2020 final.
It is, then, only natural that the rumour mill would begin to spin and chatter over whether he should be applying his on-pitch skills in a different shirt going forward.
Aston Villa recently lost their very own Jack Grealish to Premier League champions Manchester City to the tune of £100m and the lure of Champions League football - a move that cut deep at Villa Park, though didn't quite carry the same weight as a potential transfer of a Thorp Arch academy product to the red half of Manchester.
It would be unthinkable for Leeds and already is for Phillips. He may one day leave his hometown club, but not there. Surely not there.
"I would probably say I do dislike Man United," Phillips laughed to a foreign broadcaster late last year.
His agent - Kevin Sharp - reiterated those thoughts just last month, revealing his client had "no desire" to leave Elland Road in the immediate future after turning down other Premier League options previously as a Championship player.
Phillips' idol growing up was another homegrown Leeds star in Alan Smith, who infamously did swap LS11 for the club's old foe in 2004 following the Whites relegation from the Premier League amid a financial crisis.
Similarities between the two as a focal point for the club will end right there, Phillips says.
"No, I don't think so," Phillips chuckled at the prospect of making a similar transfer to United's bitter rivals in future as the interview continued. "Not at all. My family wouldn't let me!"
It was, of course, his late Granny Val that convinced him to bat away interest from Aston Villa in 2019 following play-off heartbreak - a decision which has since paid dividends for his own career and Leeds.
Under Bielsa he has flourished into one of the best defensive midfielders in Europe. There is no need to indulge the paper talk that surfaced this week for now, especially involving Old Trafford.