Former England boss Steve McClaren has weighed in on the speculation surrounding a maiden call-up to the senior England set-up for Leeds midfield general Kalvin Phillips.
The 24-year-old’s performances have attracted the attentions of current England boss Gareth Southgate, with rumours circling that he could be rewarded with an opportunity to play in the upcoming March friendlies versus Italy and Denmark.
Leeds boss Bielsa has given his thoughts on the possibility, and now McClaren has opened up on the prospect.
Speaking to Sky Sports’ Football Centre (via MOTLeedsNews), the man once dubbed the ‘wally with the brolly’ revealed that during his tenure in the international arena he would never consider players outside of the Premier League.
McClaren did heap praise on the Whites star, but conceded the step up in class from Championship to international level is huge in more ways than one.
“Phillips has got the credentials, the ability, the talent, he’s maturing, he’s got to take that step,” said McClaren.
“The step up to England is phenomenal in terms of mentality, physicality, mobility.
When quizzed on the prospect of picking players from England’s second tier during his unsuccessful stint as England boss, McClaren added: “Always Premier League. Always Premier League players. We had to see them in that type of environment.”
Meanwhile, Leeds have launched a scouting mission on an ex-Liverpool star enjoying a renaissance since his departure from Anfield.
The former England under-20 international was thought of highly on Merseyside, but breaking into Jurgen Klopp’s midfield was always going to be a tall order.
Since his 2018 exit, however, the 23-year-old has flourished with his new club, and has blossomed into a genuine goalscoring midfielder, notching seven goals from deep in the current campaign.