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Ollie backs new-boy to be star

IAN Holloway is convinced he can turn Matt Phillips into a Premier League star.

The Seasiders deadline day signing from Wycombe has already delighted the manager, who revealed he had been tracking Phillips for "a long time" and beat Wigan, Bristol City and Preston to the teenager's signature.

Phillips made his bow in the first 45 minutes of Thursday's friendly in Latvia with FK Jelgava and showed glimpses of what he can do.

He beat the opposition full-back on countless occasions, delivered some fine crosses into the box, and came close to scoring on two occasions.

In what was generally a disappointing performance by Pool, Phillips stood out.

"Young Matty looked really exciting at times," said Holloway.

"He was skipping past people like they weren't there and now I've got to get him in our shape and working within it.

"He is definitely one for not only the long-term future but the immediate future.

"I am getting quite excited about what he might be able to produce."

The Pool boss feels the pacey Phillips, who can play on the left or right flank, will fit perfectly into his attacking 4-3-3 formation.

"I can't wait to start working with him on the training ground," added the boss.

"I want my club to be like a conveyor belt where we can polish up some youngsters and turn them into diamonds.

"I want to work with these players, coach them and help them get better. They are the right age and have the potential to improve and develop. We have an important role to play in that development."

Phillips has signed a three-year deal but knows he won't be able to walk straight into the side.

"I've just got to do what I can in training and hopefully I'll be in and around things," he said.

"I need to keep progressing and I'm still young so I hope to take on board everything I'm told and hopefully make a statement."

Wycombe boss Gary Waddock knows the talent Phillips has and was sad to see the winger leave. But he has admitted it would have been unfair to stop the 19-year-old from having a crack at the big time.

"It's a great opportunity for Matty to play in the Premier League and we couldn't stand in his way," said Waddock.

"He is an outstanding prospect and I'm sorry to lose him but it's a great move for him and excellent business for the football club."

Wycombe owner Steve Hayes said: "We didn't want Matty to leave, but how could we deny him the chance?"

 
 
 

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