Christian Norgaard was thrilled to go head-to-head with Kalvin Phillips on Tuesday night, admitting that the the Leeds United talisman something of an inspiration for the Brentford midfielder.
It is no coincidence that Leeds produced their finest display in weeks with their homegrown play-maker back in the starting XI.
Marcelo Bielsa’s promotion hopefuls lost to Wigan and Nottingham Forest when Phillips was ruled out through suspension.
But the 24-year-old returned in style at Griffin Park, producing a Man of the Match performance and reminding everyone why he is arguably the most influential footballer in the whole of the Championship.
Former Fiorentina man Norgaard has enjoyed an impressive run of form himself at the heart of Thomas Frank’s midfield, though the Dane feels that he can still learn a lot from his opposite number.
“He’s a very good player,” Norgaard told the Richmond and Twickenham Times. “It was his first game back and you could see he had energy, he played like he felt he was on top of his game.
“He is doing a really good job, he was good on Tuesday dictating the game and catching a lot of second balls.
“You want to look up the leagues as high as possible and learn from the best, but you need to look at some of the players that play in the same position in the same division and how they do against the same opponent.
“He’s playing the same role as me, I wouldn’t say he plays like me and I play like he does, but whenever I watch Leeds play he’s the guy in that position so of course you look at his way of playing with and without the ball.”
Phillips managed 95 touches at Griffin Park, the most of any player on the pitch, while completing 86 per cent of his passes on the night.
As Leeds discovered during two damaging defeats, there is no one else in Bielsa’s squad capable of replacing the influence of their very own ‘Yorkshire Pirlo’.
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