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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.

England vs Croatia Match Day Vlog

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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.

Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images
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