"I was strong on him" - Sean Dyche on Burnley's interest in Leeds' England midfielder Kalvin Phillips

Two years ago Burnley tried to prise midfielder Kalvin Phillips away from Leeds United in what would have been a record deal for the Clarets.

By Chris Boden
Friday, 27th August 2021, 10:30 pm
Kalvin Phillips, right
Kalvin Phillips, right

The club offered "almost £20m" for the Leeds-born star, but the Whites - then in the Championship - were not prepared to sell.

The rest is history, with Phillips helping steer Leeds to promotion, and then a top-half finish in the Premier League, before impressing as he started every game for England at Euro 2020, as they reached the final, only to lose to Italy on penalties at Wembley.

Then Burnley chairman Mike Garlick said in the summer of 2019: "We tried to break our record fee, we did offer almost £20million for one particular player, which was higher than all our competitors, but in the end the club decided they didn't want to sell him and they retained him.

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"Often I read fans saying we couldn't compete on wages and that is normally not the case any more, it is more whether there is a willing seller."

Sean Dyche felt Phillips was right up his street, and believed he could go on and achieve what he has so far in his career.

Asked whether he was surprised by his impact this summer with England, Dyche said: “I’m not surprised, no.

"I thought he was a very good player then, and I think he’s a very good player now.

"He’s developed since then and continues to do so, so fair play to him.

“He was a player we were interested in, but unfortunately the finance was out of our range.

“I liked him then and I like him now, I think he’s a very good player who has shown that. It doesn’t need me to say that and he’s shown that.”

Dyche pushed for the signing, above some staff members who were not as convinced: “It’s not an exact science. Your scouts are out there collecting information, they are scurrying around, and sometimes one catches your eye.

"He was one that I, I don’t think my staff liked him as much, but I was strong on him.

“I was quite strong on that one and I thought he would have been a good acquisition for us, but we couldn’t do it.

"The chairman at the time wouldn’t put the money in that it would have taken.

“That’s the way it goes and he’s proven himself. He’s a player who I thought could continue to improve and he has.”