The former Leeds striker was impressed with the display produced by Phillips during the Championship game against Bristol City at Elland Road at the weekend.
The 24-year-old midfielder started the match and played for the entire 90 minutes, as Marcelo Bielsa’s won 1-0.
Whelan said about Phillips on BBC Radio Leeds on Saturday: “He anticipates the ball coming through. He works along that line tirelessly, putting challenges in, breaking up attacks. And he just went all the way to the end today.
"The last minute, the last seconds, he’s driving through with that ball, taking the ball from his own half into theirs. He’s such a massive part of this side.
“When you’ve got somebody with that sort of body strength, and you trust your body to be able to hold people off, and move the ball to the side and keep it safe, he’s such a clever player. His progression has been unreal.”
Phillips is one of the best midfielders in the Championship and is a key figure in the current Leeds team.
The Englishman was superb against City and was a force to be reckoned with in the middle of the park.
The 24-year-old drove his team forward and also made sure that the defence did not come under too much pressure.
According to WhoScored, against City, Phillips played three key passes, had a pass accuracy of 85%, took 82 touches, attempted two dribbles, made two tackles, two interceptions and three clearances, and put in five crosses.
So far this season, the 24-year-old has scored one goal and provided two assists in 29 Championship matches for Leeds, according to WhoScored.
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