Andrea Pirlo explains what makes Kalvin Phillips so unique

Andrea Pirlo has said that there no English midfielders in his mould as a deep-lying playmaker – naming Kalvin Phillips as the closest player to his characteristics.

Pirlo was one of the most successful and eyecatching midfielders of his generation, due to his range of passing and vision.

The Italian would primarily operate in a deep playmaker role, having started his career as an attacking midfielder.

During his career, he won six Serie A titles, two Champions League trophies (both with AC Milan) and the 2006 World Cup with Italy.

Pirlo describes himself as a ‘regista’ – an Italian phrase which literally translates as ‘director’ in English.

Speaking to The Athletic, Pirlo discussed the Euro 2020 final in which Italy beat England. Roberto Mancini utilised two deep-lying playmakers in his side – Jorginho and Marco Verratti.

Both men’s passing range and vision attempt to emulate that of Pirlo during his playing career – a player profile that the Italian says England do not have.

Instead, Pirlo pointed to the amount of box-to-box midfielders in the English game, such as Frank Lampard.

Pirlo’s comments on English midfielders

He explained: “It’s true. In England there’s never been this kind of play.

“There have been great midfielders over the years with different skills. There’s the boy at Leeds [Phillips], who’s a bit of a regista… but 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.”

Phillips was one of six England players to start every game of Euro 2020 en route to the final.

He was awarded the man of the match award for his display in the opening group match against Croatia at Wembley. There, he provided the assist for Raheem Sterling’s winner.

Since Marcelo Bielsa was appointed as Leeds manager in 2018, Phillips has established himself as one of England’s top midfielders.

His absence from the Leeds side was sorely felt last weekend. They were defeated 5-1 by Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Bielsa said yesterday on the midfielder’s future availability: “Another week of work means that physically, he is better and he is closer to being in the team.”

Leeds are next in action on Saturday when they host Everton at Elland Road.

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