Noel Whelan made a bold statement on the ability of Kalvin Phillips after he claimed Jordan Henderson is “not in the same league” as the Leeds United midfielder.  

The ex-Whites striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, went on to say the 24-year-old was the best in his position in the whole of English football.

The defensive midfielder was missing for three games over the winter period after he was sent-off card against Queen’s Park Rangers at the end of January.

Since Phillips‘ return, Marcelo Bielsa’s side have opened up a three-point gap between themselves and third-placed Fulham thanks to a draw at Brentford and a home victory against Bristol City.

When asked how highly he regarded the Leeds-born player, Whelan told Football Insider: “Kalvin Phillips is one of those players who is not just integral in the role that he plays but also the confidence he gives to others when he is in the side.

“There has to be an England call up for him very soon the way he is playing.

“He is a leader. There is no better defensive midfield player in the Championship in that position and I would probably say the Premier League as well. I do not think Declan Rice and Jordan Henderson are in the same league as Kalvin Phillips. I really do not. Kalvin is way above them.

“Gareth has been down and has been looking at Kalvin and Ben White you would have thought but Kalvin is the standout.”

Jordan Henderson is the current captain of Champions League and Club World Cup Winners Liverpool and is on the verge of adding the Premier League to his trophy haul.

The 29-year-old has been a key man in his side building a remarkable 25-point advantage over second-placed Manchester City and is the bookies’ favourite to win the Premier League player of the year award.

In other Leeds United news, Danny Mills has told Football Insider he knows the real reason why Poveda is not playing.