'An Exceptional human being' - Exclusive: Whelan reacts as Leeds man issues update on his future
Noel Whelan has heaped praise on the “exceptional” Kalvin Phillips for his commitment to Leeds United both on and off the field.
The ex-Whites forward, speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, claimed the 24-year-old has never changed despite much speculation surrounding him with a move away from Elland Road.
Phillips told FourFourTwo magazine, “I want to spend my career at Leeds and see this club doing well in the Premier League.”
The holding midfielder has been sensational in his 34 appearances this season – putting United in pole position for a first return to the Premier League since 2004.
Whelan was not surprised by the Englishman’s comments and insisted the club needs more role models like him.
“He already showed us last season by signing a new contract,” he told Football Insider.
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“He is a hometown boy. We know what the club means to him.
“He is a great role model if you watch him on the field and what he does away from the pitch at hospitals and charities – he is a leader and an inspiration to others. He is an exceptional human being as well as an exceptional player. I doubt many sportsmen in the Premier League do more than him.
“It shows he has got a real good head on his shoulders and these are the sorts of people we want at the football club. We want people who are not there for the money but want to play for Leeds United.
“Nothing has gone to his head. He has never changed in spite of all the rumours.”
Phillips extended his contract in September with his new deal at Elland Road not due to expire until 2024.
As revealed by Football Insider, the defensive midfielder has a release clause in his contract believed to be in the region of £20-25million.
In other Leeds United news, Kevin Phillips has told Football Insider he has been wowed by what Marcelo Bielsa has inspired behind-the-scenes.