Alex McLeish has claimed Kalvin Phillips is evolving into a “top player” after his “phenomenal” performance for Leeds United against Manchester City.
The former Scotland manager, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, revealed he kept a close eye on the 25-year-old and was blown away by what he saw.
A brace from Stuart Dallas gave Leeds a memorable win at the Etihad, despite playing the entire second half with 10 men.
Phillips played the whole 90 minutes as he attempted to keep the likes of Bernardo Silva and Oleksandr Zinchenko quiet in midfield.
The England international appeared to have an indifferent game in possession, with just 19 successful passes from 24 attempted [Whoscored].
However, it was Phillips’ off-ball contribution and positioning that really caught Mcleish’s eye.
The former manager admitted he paid special attention to the midfielder to see how he coped against Pep Guardiola’s men.
He insisted the Leeds star showed an intelligence that only the very top players develop.
McLeish told Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge: “Kalvin Philips was phenomenal. He just had a sensational game.
“I was watching him particularly just to see, even when the ball wasn’t there, what kind of positions he was taking up.
“He is very intelligent, you can see he’s a good player just playing with intelligence.
“That’s where the top players tend to evolve, through that kind of style of football and also in the brain, the mental side of the game.”
Phillips has now played 23 times in the Premier League so far, while he also has seven England caps.
Leeds’ next game sees them play host to Liverpool on Monday.