Young midfielder boosted by senior involvement...
Young midfielder Kalvin Phillips is hopeful that his first-team debut may not be too far away after being named among the substitutes for Saturday’s 1-0 win at Wigan.
Neil Redfearn is a keen admirer and described the 19-year-old as “more than capable” of slotting into his side after seeing Phillips play a starring role in the Under-21s’ 5-0 demolition of Huddersfield Town.
The all-action centre-midfielder was on target at the John Smith’s Stadium on Monday afternoon, taking his U21s tally to six for the season with an unstoppable long-range strike on 73 minutes.
The Academy product, who was also on the bench at Sunderland back in January, says being part of Redfearn’s 18-man squad at the DW Stadium has provided a huge lift to his belief as he bides his time for an opportunity.
"It was a massive a boost," said Phillips. "My confidence is up here right now.
"I’m just happy to be playing and getting goals.
"I think I’m quite close. Steve Thompson has been saying that I’m not a million miles away so hopefully it will come soon.
"I just take it as it comes. I work the hardest I can in training everyday so hopefully Redders and Thommo, like they have, will spot it.
"It’s been quite hard sometimes but everybody in the team has been playing well.
"Redders has been saying that we’re the future. It’s a great time to be at the club."
Phillips was joined on the scoresheet at Huddersfield by Dario Del Fabro, Brian Montenegro, Chris Dawson and Ross Killock, with the hosts reduced to 10-men for a handball inside the area during the early stages of the second half.
On his goal, Phillips said: "We played well down the right. Dawson did well, gave it to Purver and I just thought ‘why not’ and had a hit.
"I knew straightaway that it was going in. I’d say it was about third in the goals I’ve scored, it was a good goal.
"We came here knowing that Huddersfield were going to be a tough test because they’re at the top of the league.
"We gave them a game in the first half and I think the red card in the second half just threw them a little bit."