Speaking to the Daily Mail, Phillips has admitted he would love to manage Sunderland, and would consider taking the job if he was approached right now.
The former striker said: “At some point in my career I’d love to come back and manage. If that was put upon me [management] then I’d have no problem doing it. It’s something I’d seriously consider if I was offered, but I’m still doing my badges, still learning the role and still learning about not being a player.”
Phillips is currently working under Nigel Pearson at Leicester, learning the tools of the trade whilst earning his coaching badges at a Premier League club. It is certainly a strong development path for the 41-year-old, and it would be no surprise to see him take charge of a Football League club in the future.
However, it would be unwise for Sunderland to approach Phillips at the end of the season, even if they are keen on hiring a young successor to Dick Advocaat who understands the needs of the club.
Phillips is a legend at the Stadium of Light, but there is a sense that the club need someone to come in and bring stability rather than a complete rejuvenation.
This rejuvenation is needed, but firstly an experienced coach should be hired who can establish the Black Cats as a Premier League side. For too many seasons the club have now teetered on the brink of relegation, and Dick Advocaat looks to be keeping them in the top flight again.
However, Advocaat should remain at the club past this summer, to move the club forward and make sure they are not struggling for survival again.
When Sunderland have guaranteed Premier League status, then they can look to hire a young coach wishing to make his mark upon football - and that could really be Phillips.