Alex McLeish insists it will take a mammoth transfer bid for Tottenham or Liverpool to prise away Leeds United “Everest” Kalvin Phillips.

The former Aston Villa and Scotland manager, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, claims the Whites will play hardball over a midfielder he rates as outstanding.

The Mirror report that Spurs and Liverpool are set to spark a transfer battle for the 24-year-old and that Leeds rate their homegrown talent at £50million.

McLeish has lauded Phillips for his meteoric rise from Championship player to England star and insists that suitors will have to splash the cash to get him on board.

“Gareth Southgate’s recognised him now and he’s gone through the stratosphere with the form and ability that he’s shown over the last year or so,” McLeish told Football Insider.

“When Leeds are dipping into the market themselves and trying to buy players from Brighton, who are putting the price up every day, and then all of a sudden they’re getting invitations for their own players from some of the big clubs – listen, there’s always a price.

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“I’ve always said that, there’s always a price but I think he would be one of their most prized possessions. You’re talking Everest.”

Phillips, who has 186 appearances under his belt since breaking through the youth ranks at Elland Road, has played every minute of Leeds’ Premier League campaign so far.

However, he is set to be missing for both club and country over the coming weeks due to a shoulder injury.

In other Leeds United news, Alex McLeish has told Football Insider that Marcelo Bielsa has a “sensational” player he has barely used this season.