If the tabloids are to be believed, Newcastle have spent the past few weeks trying to thrash out a deal for England winger Andros Townsend. However, with disagreements over transfer fee, some reports suggest Newcastle have turned their attentions to QPR’s Matt Phillips.
As such, we have asked QPR season ticket-holder, Nick Friend, what he thinks about the 24 year-old. Is he good enough for the Premier League? Townsend or Phillips?
Here is what he said:
Since joining QPR from Blackpool in 2013, Matt Phillips has proven something of an enigma. Superb when he wants to be yet frustratingly anonymous all too often, Phillips’ fluctuating form has epitomised much of what has been wrong at Rangers for the best part of the last decade.
This, however, is not to say that his attitude has stunk the place out in the same way that Jose Bosingwa and Adel Taarabt did. Simply, the club has never been stable enough to really gauge a just view of Phillips’ ability.
At times, he has been fantastic. As QPR were relegated under Chris Ramsey, Phillips emerged as one of the league’s most creative attacking forces, providing more assists than anyone in any of Europe’s top five leagues between January and May – apart from Lionel Messi. In amongst the assists, came his 45-yard goal of the season contender in a dreadful team performance at Crystal Palace. Click HERE to watch the sweet sweet strike.
A powerful and direct runner, he is at his best when pinning himself to the right flank and whipping in crosses. Whilst he doesn’t necessarily possess the tricks and flicks to which the Premier League has become accustomed from its wingers, Phillips is old school in that he is as prepared to cross from deep as he is to drive towards the byline. Playing in front of an adventurous overlapping full-back provides him with the space to look for his frontman early. Many of his assists have been indebted to the finishing abilities of Charlie Austin – an old-fashioned number nine, whose build is not dissimilar to that of Alex Mitrovic.
Following the mixed success rate of Newcastle’s recent ventures into the European market, it is no surprise to see Steve McClaren and Graham Carr looking closer to home. McClaren, of course, worked with Phillips during his short stint at Loftus Road as Harry Redknapp’s first-team coach.
Injuries have plagued him during the last three years but there can be no doubting that when fully fit, he has bundles of ability. He played Premier League football in the 2010-11 season for Blackpool, forming part an explosive front three under Ian Holloway. Crucially, Holloway saw Phillips as an out-and-out right winger. At times this season, both Ramsey and Neil Warnock positioned him in both a lone-striker role and just behind Austin. What is certain is that he is half the player once removed from the right touchline. Ponderous and uncomfortable coming inside onto his left foot, he struggled to make any impact in those games.
The same can be said of Andros Townsend, who spent six months on loan at QPR and who’s also been linked with a move to St James.’ Townsend, for me, is too one-dimensional to make it as a high-level Premier League footballer. Much like Gabriel Obertan, he has little end product and is overly reliant on his left foot, cutting inside whenever a sliver of an opportunity to do so.
In short, Phillips over Townsend every day of the week. Cheaper, more direct and a genuinely top drawer crosser of a football when at his best, Mitrovic and Papiss Cisse would benefit enormously from his creativity.
Although I am aware that highlights videos can threaten to misrepresent the real product – just ask Denis Wise and Ignacio Gonzales (who?) – THIS highlights real is naughty.
Who would you prefer?