Andrea Pirlo provides his verdict on Leeds United fans’ nickname for Kalvin Phillips

Kalvin Phillips has been dubbed the ‘Yorkshire Pirlo’ ever since the early days of Marcelo Bielsa’s tenure at Leeds United.

Before the arrival of the Argentine coach, Phillips had been thought of as a box-to-box midfielder and had shown his ability to score goals in the 17/18 season as he often played as a more attacking midfielder and finishing the season with seven Championship goals.

It all changed under Bielsa though, as Phillips was repositioned as a defensive midfielder. His physicality was perfect for the role and his ability to spray passes from deep positions is what saw him given his aforementioned nickname, which has stuck with him ever since, even going global as Phillips played every game in England’s run to the final of the belated Euro 2020 tournament.

Now he’s even got Andrea Pirlo talking about him, in an interview with The Athletic.

“It’s true. In England, there’s never been this kind of player. There have been great midfielders over the years with different skills. There’s the boy at Leeds, who’s a bit of a regista,” Pirlo told The Athletic.

“But,” Pirlo said with a twinkle in his eye, “we’re a bit different. He doesn’t have the same characteristics I had. You’ve always had box-to-box midfielders, like Frank Lampard.”

The former Juventus manager doesn’t quite see the likeness in Phillips’ style and his own play, with Phillips’ game being far more about physicality and his ability to cover a huge amount of ground in every game. These were not qualities which Pirlo was famed for, with his own game being all about metronomic passing and controlling the tempo of every game.

However, Leeds fans have been singing their song about their ‘magic’ midfielder for three seasons now and it doesn’t seem likely that they’ll be stopping anytime soon, regardless of what Pirlo has to say about it.

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