Matt Phillips

Matt Phillips
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Matt Phillips

Current Club: West Bromwich Albion.

Previous Clubs: QPR, Blackpool, Wycombe Wanderers.

Loan Club: Sheffield United.

International: Scotland 4 caps.

Phillips career started off with a meteoric rise as he starred for England's youth teams, earning a move to Blackpool, who were then a rising force. However it has hit the buffers since then, with things at the Tangerines turning sour and a move to QPR not working out as he would have expected. Last summer's transfer to the Baggies was a chance to resurrect a once-promising career and it initially looked like it might well do so.

Once he got going, he was on fire for a short spell, using power, pace and skill to create and score goals. Unfortunately it was just a short spell and ended all too soon, as his confidence just evaporated and his form vanished completely. Then hamstring injuries curtailed his season, with no chance to recover his form. What was clear is that there is a huge difference between a confident Phillips and a Phillips lacking in confidence.

When he is lacking confidence, Phillips is a very poor winger, quite pacey, but his touch is poor, his crossing and shooting is wayward and he fails to really attack his fullback, concentrating on just sitting in front of his own full back. Even his power just seems to dry up, as he is unable to get in and challenge for aerial balls. His anticipation of balls played in from the opposite flank has gone and he will get caught ball watching.

The minute he is playing with confidence and it is a totally different player. His touch is good, his pace, power and anticipation are all working well and he attacks his fullback to create space to play the ball in. The one thing he does lack is the close control and trickery to beat a defender in tight situations. Phillips is more of a pace and power winger, that really needs space to exploit with his pace.

Defensively he is very aware for a winger, tracks back well and covers his full back most of the time. Defensively aware enough to, in my opinion, have been the kind of player that would have played at full back if he was in Spanish football.