Sean Dyche left unsurprised by Leeds United star's meteoric rise after Burnley interest

Kalvin Phillips' meteoric rise from Championship midfielder to Premier League and England star comes as no surprise to Burnely boss Sean Dyche, who tried to sign him.

Saturday, 28th August 2021, 12:02 am
Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips. Pic: Getty

Leeds United rebuffed the Clarets advances in the summer of 2019, as Dyche tried to lure the Yorkshire Pirlo over the Pennines to Turf Moor.

The Whites turned down a near £20million offer for their key midfielder, as revealed by former Burnley chairman Mike Garlick, after the club missed out on promotion at the end of the 2018/19 term in Marcelo Bielsa's first year in charge at Elland Road.

Phillips was subject of intense Premier League interest following the club's play-off semi-final defeat to Derby County, which signalled another season of Championship football.

Sign up to our Leeds United newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The 25-year-old opted to turn down Dean Smith and Aston Villa along with Leeds dismissing Burnley's official interest. The decision to remain in West Yorkshire, though, has been proved right as his career continues to go from strength to strength.

United went on to make history by earning promotion the following campaign before Leeds secured a top half finish in England's elite division at the first time of asking.

Phillips also headed to the Euros with England this summer where only a penalty shootout separated Gareth Southgate's Three Lions from international glory against Italy.

“I’m not surprised, no," Burnley boss Dyche said of Phillips' recent career trajectory ahead of this weekend's meeting in Lancashire.

"I thought he was a very good player then, and I think he’s a very good player now.

"He’s developed since then and continues to do so, so fair play to him. He was a player we were interested in, but unfortunately the finance was out of our range.

“I liked him then and I like him now, I think he’s a very good player who has shown that. It doesn’t need me to say that and he’s shown that.”

Dyche also revealed that he was one of the majors players at Burnley pushing for his signature over two years ago.

“It’s not an exact science," he continued. "Your scouts are out there collecting information, they are scurrying around, and sometimes one catches your eye.

"He was one that I, I don’t think my staff liked him as much, but I was strong on him. I was quite strong on that one and I thought he would have been a good acquisition for us, but we couldn’t do it.

"The chairman at the time wouldn’t put the money in that it would have taken.

“That’s the way it goes and he’s proven himself. He’s a player who I thought could continue to improve and he has.”