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Manchester United and Chelsea leading race to sign Blackburn Rovers star

Manchester United and Chelsea are battling it out to sign Blackburn Rovers sensational Ashley Phillips, who is being tipped to become a future England star.

The 16-year-old is yet to make his debut for Rovers but he’s already a regular for the club’s U21s and there’s been an almost ‘constant presence’ of scouts to watch Phillips this season.

The centre-back is already 6ft4 and is expected to grow further in the next three years, while he’s blessed with pace and comfortable with both feet.

Blackburn rate the defender as their finest prospect since Phil Jones, who was snapped up by United in 2011 for a fee of £16.5million.

And the Sun say that Chelsea and United are going head-to-head for Phillips, with the Premier League giants keen to sign the defender before he makes the step-up into the first team and his price tag increases.

Phillips is already training with Rovers’ first team and the club want to tie him down to a new long-term contract to protect their asset.

Though Rovers are giving Phillips time to develop and are wary of putting too much pressure on his young shoulders, manager Guy Mowbray admits the teenager has ‘amazing’ potential.

He’s 6ft 4′, he’s fast, mobile and can pass it really well. He can use both feet, he’s composed,’ said Mowbray.‘Ash is just a phenomenal young boy; if you were to create a defender in the mould of how you would want one, this kid has got every attribute.‘

But he is still just a young boy. He needs time, which is why he’s training with the first-team so that he gets confident and used to the level of intensity.‘

He’s an exciting prospect, is all I’d say. But it’s in a position where there is a lot of responsibility.‘

It’s not as easy to put a really talented young defender in as opposed to a talented young striker where it doesn’t matter if he loses the ball every now and then.‘

As a defender, you’re judged on keeping the ball out of the net and winning your individual duels.‘

He is just a boy but he’s got some amazing attributes. We’ve got high hopes that he can progress quickly.’

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