Golden oldie’s big u-turn

Kevin Phillips in action and (below) with Blackpool's golden boot as last season's 17-goal top scorer.

Kevin Phillips in action and (below) with Blackpool's golden boot as last season's 17-goal top scorer.

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KEVIN Phillips says he has put off quitting for another year because “you are a long time retired.”

The Blackpool striker turns 39 in July, when the squad is due to begin pre-season training, and had planned to hang up his boots this summer.

Kevin Phillips with Blackpool's golden boot as last season's 17-goal top scorer.

Kevin Phillips with Blackpool's golden boot as last season's 17-goal top scorer.

But he enjoyed playing in Ian Holloway’s attacking Pool side so much last season that he decided to do a U-turn and carry on scoring.

Phillips said: “I have done a fair bit of media work in the last year and I do enjoy it.

“I will also get my coaching badges done at some stage, but the bottom line is that I want to play for as long as I possibly can.

“You are a long time retired, so I’ve got to enjoy it as much as I possibly can. That is what all ex-players tell me and that is probably why I have continued.

“I am at a club where the manager plays attacking football. In fact, it is the first time in my career I have played in a side which has consistently gone 4-3-3 home and away. Generally, all my career has been in a 4-4-2 formation, but not at Blackpool.

“It is something I have had to get used to this season. We work on shape every week and it was really starting to pay off towards the end of the year because we looked a solid outfit.

“When I played in a 4-3-3 before, you had a big 6ft targetman down the middle and people running off him.

“That hasn’t been the case here – it is about movement and it has caused teams a lot of problems.

“It was tricky to get used to when I first joined, but the manager said he wanted me to run in behind, in the channels, and I think the season went pretty well for the myself and the team.

“Of course we were gutted to fall at the final hurdle, but I think we were the better team against West Ham and were very unlucky.”

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When Phillips moved from Birmingham last summer, some wondered how a bona fide star of the English game would fit in at Blackpool, a club famed for making players wash their own kit.

The striker says he has never had a problem. He added: “I was welcomed here by a manager who really wanted me and I enjoyed it from day one.

“I didn’t take a pay cut and Blackpool were fantastic. They virtually matched what I was on at Birmingham, so I can’t praise the chairman highly enough.

“He has a bit of a reputation, but he has been brilliant to me and the club in general have been excellent.

“The manager has been fantastic. He is so passionate about his football, and the great thing for me is that he believed in me from the start. He believed I would score goals and I don’t think 17 is a bad return from the season.

“I will have another crack next year and try to help the team get promoted. After that I am 99.9 per cent certain to call it a day, so hopefully it will be a season to remember.”

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