LEEDS star Kalvin Phillips has delivered a big blow to Jose Mourinho by insisting he wants to stay at Elland Road for the rest of his career.
Tottenham boss Mourinho is one of several top-flight managers monitoring the midfielder, who has played a key role in the Elland Road club’s rise to the top of the Championship.
But Phillips, 24, speaking to FourFourTwo magazine, said: “I want to spend my career at Leeds and see the club doing well in the Premier League.
“I’m just enjoying every minute right now.”
Leaders Leeds are one point clear of West Brom — and seven points ahead of third-placed Fulham — with nine matches to go.
Marcelo’s Bielsa’s men will be keen to avoid the play-offs after suffering a heartbreaking semi-final defeat by Derby last year.
Phillips said: “We’ve massively improved in this campaign, we’re a lot more experienced.
“We went through a bad patch at the wrong time last season and then lost in the play-offs. It was tough but it has helped us.”
Phillips has developed into one of the best midfielders outside of the Premier League — and is included in the ‘Football League Top 50’ published in the new issue of FourFourTwo out on Wednesday — after being played in a deeper playmaker role since Bielsa took over in 2018.
The player admitted: “I was surprised at first. The season before he arrived, I’d scored seven goals, so I was a bit confused and disappointed when he spoke to me. I could hardly say no, though, could I? Especially given his track record of improving players.
I want to spend my career at Leeds
“He saw something in me and offered to teach me how to play a different role.
“I’ve adapted well, although he’s never completely satisfied! He’s always saying I can improve.
“That can be frustrating when you think you’ve played well but those are the standards he sets.
“We’re probably the fittest team in the league — that’s important to him. He’s on our case all the time, checking weight and conditioning and demanding we always give absolutely everything in training.
“Honestly, if someone from outside came in and saw what he had us doing for pre-season, they’d think he was crazy. But we’re in a strong position because of it.
“Leeds brought him in to coach the club but he has had a big effect on the whole city. He wants to do Leeds proud.”
Leeds-born Phillips’ performances for his hometown club have even led to widespread calls for an England call-up.
The modest midfielder said: “All I can do is stay fit and carry on doing what I’m doing.
“I know the bar is incredibly high for international footballers but I feel like I’m on the border of that.
“Once Leeds have become an established Premier League side again, I’ll be competing with the best.
“Hopefully I can do well enough to convince Gareth Southgate that I deserve a spot in his squad.”
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