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Report: Title winners keeping tabs on progress of Leeds and West Ham stars

The Manchester Evening News have claimed that Manchester City are keeping tabs on England midfielders Kalvin Phillips and Declan Rice. The progress of the Leeds and West Ham stars has not gone unnoticed among the Manchester City hierarchy. But Leeds and West Ham still have hope.

Phillips, 25, has partnered 22-year-old Rice in the middle of the park for England for both of their Euro 2020 matches against Croatia and Scotland. The duo are expected to continue for Tuesday evening’s clash against the Czech Republic. It comes after both have enjoyed excellent seasons.

The heartbeat of a side that gained promotion, finished ninth and became an England regular – Phillips has enjoyed his best season yet. Similarly, Rice captained West Ham as the London side qualified for the Europa League – with Mark Noble now a squad player. Manchester City are interested.

The report claims that both players have caught the eye but that defensive midfield is not a major priority this summer – to the relief of Leeds and West Ham. Fernandinho is likely to sign a new one-year deal, while Rodri and Ilkay Gundogan are options. Next summer, though, that could change.

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Which would suit Manchester City more – Leeds star Phillips, or West Ham favourite Rice?

Both have been excellent over the last 12 months. But if Manchester City were to choose either, surely the obvious pick is Rice? The Hammers sensation is three years younger than Phillips. While Phillips can play at centre-back, Rice is much more suited to the role.

He broke into the Hammers side in midfield under Slaven Bilic but initially became a regular during David Moyes’ first spell – as a defender. That versatility, and his age, makes him the more obvious option. However, he is also likely to be more expensive. Next summer will be interesting.

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