Kalvin Phillips shares what manager Marcelo Bielsa told him in training after Leeds star got first England call-up
Kalvin Phillips has told GQ Magazine what Marcelo Bielsa said to him after he got his first England call-up. The Leeds academy product was handed his first chance before promotion, and it clearly excited the Leeds boss.
Phillips has been a crucial part of the England side – playing more minutes than anyone in the World Cup qualifiers. The England midfielder now has seven caps, and is expected to be in the 26-man squad – confirmed on Tuesday.
Converted into a no.4 following the arrival of Bielsa, Phillips has attributed his England call-up to his manager. He says that the change in position, philospophy, fitness levels and mentality has helped him break into the England side. Bielsa even handed him a gift after his call-up.
A retro, original Newell’s Old Boys shirt was given to Phillips by Bielsa. Now, the Leeds midfielder has shared what the Argentine manager told him behind the scenes during a training session. In a passing drill, Phillips said Bielsa told him he couldn’t wait to see him do it at Wembley.
“We were doing a passing drill [during training] and he said, ‘I can’t wait to watch you at Wembley playing these passes,'” Phillips told GQ Magazine.
Is Bielsa protege Phillips first choice for England?
His competition comes in the form of Jordan Henderson and Declan Rice – but also the system in which Gareth Southgate plays. If Southgate plays a three-man defence, then it is likely that he will go with two holding-midfielders as there will be more attackers in the side.
But if Southgate uses a 4-2-3-1 system, which he has done regularly at times, then it will most-likely be a holding-midfielder – and a more attacking midfielder. Rice is first choice, given Henderson has been injured. But the chances are that Rice and Henderson will combine against Croatia.
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