View: Blackburn defender Ashley Phillips has all the attributes to be a hit for Tottenham
Tottenham are on the verge of signing 17-year-old Blackburn Rovers centre-back Ashley Phillips and the youngster has all the attributes to be a success in North London.
The Daily Mail reported on 17 August that Spurs have beaten the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea to his signature with Phillips out of contract at Ewood Park at the end of the season.
Phillips is a tall physical defender who is also comfortable playing out from the back.
Blackburn under Jon Dahl Tomasson look to be progressive in their play and build out from the back as much as possible and that has certainly benefited Phillips.
The example below is a good example of the Blackburn youngster’s calmness and composure on the ball.
He receives the ball from his centre-back partner with his head already up scanning for options with his body shape ready to take the ball forward.
Having already assessed his options forward, Phillips is aware of an option that he can pick out in midfield.
However, before he makes the pass to his midfield player he shapes as if he is going to play the simply five-yard pass to his right back.
His body shape lures West Brom attacker Grady Diangana towards the Blackburn full-back as he is expecting the ball to end up at his feet.
Diangana’s movement to the left opens up space in the central area for Phillips to exploit.
Finally, Phillips plays the ball forward into the space and allows for Blackburn to play out of any potential trouble.
This scenario demonstrates that he is comfortable in tight areas around his own box and also highlights excellent decision-making.
If he had decided to go to his right back, the ball would’ve either ended up back with his keeper or with a West Brom player.
The following example is an excellent demonstration of his physical attributes which could benefit him massively if he made the move to Tottenham.
Phillips makes a mistake whilst trying to play the West Brom attacker offside but uses his pace and size to make up for his error brilliantly.
He quickly acknowledges that he has made a mistake and makes a smart run to where the ball could potentially be crossed, instead of looking to challenge the attacker straight away.
His pace means is back in position before the attacker even has the ball under control.
As the example above displays, Phillips doesn’t engage the attacker straight away, instead, he picks up a clever position and blocks the cross.
The youngster isn’t the finished article as of yet, but there is every chance that his maturity and physical strength could see him featuring for Spurs in the not-to-distant future.
In other Tottenham news, Dane Scarlett has enjoyed a bright start on loan at Portsmouth.