Nathaniel Phillips has got the green light to leave Liverpool as he experienced a lack of game time and Aston Villa may generate interest. He can leave the club this month but has to find a new destination before. Aston Villa have lost Axel Tuanzebe to Napoli after his loan spell ended and also suffered a lack of game time. Consequently, Villa does not have a backup center-back and are tipped to sign Nat Phillips.
Nat Phillips was impressive in his Champions League display against AC Milan. He has one problem at Liverpool and that is lack of game time. However, he will not be guaranteed more game time at Villa as Tyrone Mings and Ezri Konsa are the first-choice pairing at center-back.
Aston Villa have made quite a few signings in January but they have to strengthen their defense. Lucas Digne is a defensive signing but Villa does not have the necessary depth in the center-back position. Nathaniel Phillips can provide that and may get a better amount of game time than he does at Liverpool. In addition, he also has Premier League experience to help him with the adjustment in the club.
Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard has the power to attract young talent and can do the same with Nat Phillips. Former Arsenal striker Kevin Campbell had this to say to Aston Villa,
“Phillips is definitely a player who can go to Villa and do his thing, it can definitely happen.”
“Look, getting a center-half through the door isn’t rocket science. You want them to be able to do their job, and you want them to fit in with the team seamlessly. Phillips seems to be a good pro, so it may just work. Gerrard knows him and knows Liverpool as well.”
What can Nathaniel Phillips provide Aston Villa?
Phillips has some similar characteristics to Virgil van Dijk. Although Van Dijk is on a whole different level, Phillips can provide most of Van Dijk’s qualities at a smaller rate. The 24-year-old is a tall and strong center-back who does not think before going into a challenge. He puts his body on the line to defend and get his team out of danger.
He wants to win every single header and wins almost every aerial duel. Moreover, he also likes to distribute the ball like Van Dijk. He sprays long balls and passes everywhere on the pitch and rarely makes any mistakes. He was called as Mr. Dependable by the Liverpool fans when Van Dijk was not available due to injury. Moreover, he also has good blocks and tackles in him to trouble his opponents
However, injury returns of various players and new signings have made an impact on Phillips’ importance to the club. He has fallen down the pecking order but needs more game time to become a world-class center back. Villa currently have three center backs but Gerrard likes to have four in his squad. Therefore, Villa’s options for signing another center-back is also open.
Phillips seems like a good suit for Aston Villa and it is not a nonsense move to be ruled out. Villa can think about signing the 24-year-old and he will also be a cheaper option compared to many other players. Under Gerrard’s guidance, Phillips can achieve and learn way more than he could have thought and can also get some crucial game time.
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