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Feb 26, 2011

Holloway: We won lottery with Phillips

Blackpool boss Ian Holloway has praised 19-year-old Matt Phillips, claiming that he 'won the lottery' after plucking him from obscurity at Wycombe.

Holloway only watched Phillips in action on DVD, before taking a gamble on signing him for £325,000 in the summer, but the manager now thinks that he could be a top player for years to come.

"He's got frightening potential," said Holloway. "To say I feel we have won the lottery in him is not an understatement. I was chucked a DVD of him in the summer. We had to do it that way because we were wrung out.

"Our scout took one trip to Hungary and the bloke had to wait four months for his expenses and so I couldn't send him again.

"I saw a compilation of Matty - a header, a left-foot strike and a right-foot strike - and said, 'No, the boy can't be any good at Wycombe'. When I got home, I sat and watched it again. I stopped it, rewound and looked at it again.

Holloway has yet to fathom what his best position is, either as a winger, or a full-back, but saw fit to compare him to Tottenham star Gareth Bale.

"Maybe Matty might have a future at being like Gareth Bale on the opposite side,'' he added. "I don't anticipate him being with us long because I have seen in him things that top clubs in the world have, their players have got those sort of talents.

"I haven't decided what his best position is yet, but I have said I think about right-back. From that area he is hitting some of the best crossfield passes, even better than Charlie Adam. You look at what Ashley Cole has achieved as a left-back, who was a winger when he first went to Arsenal.

"If you think about all the best teams in the world, what are their full-backs like? Have a look at Barcelona with Dani Alves. What Matt has to do is learn to defend because Alves can defend. But I think there is nothing to say he can't be a world star, providing he keeps going and keeps working."

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