Former England striker Darren Bent has backed Kalvin Phillips to receive his first international call-up if he impresses for Leeds United in the Premier League next campaign.
Leeds will end their 16-year absence from the top flight when they kick off next term following their Championship title win last season, and Phillips’ performances in midfield were integral to the Whites winning the division by an impressive 10-point margin.
The 24-year-old rose through Leeds’ academy ranks before establishing himself at the base of midfield in the first team, with Phillips having particularly excelled under the guidance of Marcelo Bielsa as he made a total of 36 league appearances last campaign.
Phillips recently told the Whites’ official club website that he is a couple of weeks ahead of schedule in recovering from a knee injury he picked up towards the end of the season, which means he is gearing up to feature when Leeds kick off the new campaign next month.
Ex-England frontman Bent has claimed he is intrigued to see how Phillips continues his development in the Premier League, with the 36-year-old suggesting an international call-up should be considered a serious aim for the midfielder ahead of the Euros next summer.
“I’ve got no doubts he’s going to play very, very well in the Premier League but I’m intrigued and looking forward to seeing him develop,” Bent told Football Insider.
“He might have timed it to perfection because if he puts in half the performances that he did in the Championship in the Premier League, there’s a nice carrot waiting at the end of the season in the European Championships.”
Bent netted four goals in his 13 outings for the England national side while Phillips is yet to receive the nod from Gareth Southgate despite his stand-out displays in the Championship.
Can you score full marks in this Leeds quiz?
There can be no doubt that Leeds’ promotion to the top flight will significantly improve Phillips’ England chances next season, with the 24-year-old’s age and playing style helping him fit the profile of player that Southgate tends to prefer in the international set-up.
The midfielder has gone from strength to strength since Bielsa’s arrival in Yorkshire back in the summer of 2018, and the fact he will most likely continue to feature regularly for the Whites next term means he will soon be firmly on the England boss’ radar.
It is now important that Phillips strives to regain full fitness over the next month as Leeds prepare for their long-awaited Premier League return, with his fitness being vital to the club as they look to consolidate themselves in the top tier.