What did Nat Phillips say?
Speaking to the Times, the 24-year-old said, “I think we’re quite similar as people, quite similar in sense of humour and I know I’m not the most pleasing on the eye – when you compare me to someone like Virgil (van Dijk) and how cool and calm he looks.
“By all accounts from the manager, he was the same. I’ve heard him describe himself as having a first division brain but third division feet and I think that’s where he draws the similarities. And I think it gives him joy to see someone like me succeed.”
[player 1494396] added, “I went up initially just to be a mannequin, for shape drills.
“What impressed him was (my) training and my ability to take information on board and learn.”
Liverpool’s shambolic season
Nat Phillips has had a breakthrough season at [team 8] due to a defensive injury crisis at the club. The injury to [player 1743] in the Merseyside Derby was the start of a catastrophic season for Liverpool. Until the Dutchman’s injury, they were the title favourites, but after his injury, questions were inevitable.
To add to the misery, his partner and England international, [player 1453], also picked up a season-long injury. [player 1920] fitness issues have always been constant, and the inevitable happened when the 29-year-old picked up a massive injury as well.
Some of Europe’s best midfielders like [player 323] and [player 96099] had to play in defence. This took the energy and cohesion out of the midfield, and Liverpool’s counter-pressing got worse. Liverpool were not only shambolic in a defensive aspect, but now they were also looking stretched in the midfield area.
Nat Phillips’s performance
Nat Phillips has recently established a strong partnership with [player 5640817], recently signed from [team 67] in January on an emergency basis. Of course, comparing those two young and inexperienced lads with Van Dijk and Gomez would be wrong considering the status.
However, Phillips has become a pivotal part of [coach 455353]’s side and could have a massive future at the club. He is a very old school defender who is strong in the air, always aggressive and a threat from set-pieces. In possession, he is not reliable, but in terms of defending, he is showing great potential.
This season in the [league 8], Phillips has made 12 appearances, with 10 out of those coming as starts. His defensive numbers are exceptional, as he has completed 1.2 tackles per game and an impressive 1.3 interceptions per game. Phillips has also won a terrific 65% of his aerial duels (5.5 pg). Along with it, he has been booked just twice in 12 games, something encouraging for a relatively slower centre-back.
As horribly unexpected as this season has been for the reds, the emergence of Phillips is one of the biggest positives to take.