According to Leeds Live, former Spurs and Manchester United player Garth Crooks was of the opinion that Kalvin Phillips can be the ideal successor to Jordan Henderson at Liverpool. Speaking to the BBC, Crooks compared Phillips to a young Bryan Robson and said that the Leeds man can take Henderson’s place in the Liverpool team as well as the England side.
Kalvin Phillips spent seven years in the youth ranks of local club Wortley before joining Leeds United’s academy in 2010. He caught the eye across youth levels before making his senior professional debut for the Whites in the Championship during the 2014-15 season.
The 25-year-old gradually established himself as one of the mainstays of Leeds’ midfield over the next few years and carved out a reputation for himself as one of the best central midfielders in the English second-tier.
Phillips played a key role as the Whites won the Championship title under Marcelo Bielsa’s stewardship last term to secure a return to the Premier League for the first time since 2003-04.
Phillips has continued to be an indispensable cog in Bielsa’s midfield in the top-flight, starting eight of their 11 PL fixtures so far, missing three due to injury.
The Whites’ graduate has made 189 appearances for his boyhood club in all competitions, registering 12 goals and 12 assists in the process. He made his senior England debut against Denmark in the UEFA Nations League back in September and currently has 3 international caps under his belt.
It’s easy to see why Crooks would find similarities in Phillips and Henderson. After all, both are English and play similar roles for their clubs. What sets apart Phillips is how good he is at offence and defence in equal measure. One only needs to see his displays from last season or even a few games from this season to understand what we are saying.
Often playing as the sole defensive midfielder in a 4-1-4-1 setup, Phillips has to provide protection to the backline. He does that with aplomb as he has an uncanny ability to nick the ball off the opposition with relative ease. As press resistant as they come, he can get the ball out of tight spaces without giving it away.
That’s not all as his deep-lying playmaking skills are something to behold. Sitting at the base of the midfield, he controls the tempo of the game by putting in those defence-splitting long balls over the top or through the opposition backline. Add to that his tremendous technique to play those diagonal balls to switch the play.
Phillips is already a rising star in the English game and he would make a fine addition to Liverpool’s world-class team. Yes, he does look like the perfect successor to Henderson but he is just so much more than that.