Manchester United and Chelsea are reportedly leading the race to sign Blackburn Rovers’ teenage prodigy Ashley Phillips.

According to The Sun, Chelsea and Manchester United have emerged as the front-runners to secure the services of 16-year-old Blackburn Rovers prospect Ashley Phillips. 

The youngster joined the Blackburn Rovers youth academy from Curzon Ashton and has been making all the right noises in his fledgeling career. Phillips broke into the club’s Under-18 outfit last year, despite being just 15 and made a solid impression.

After making 11 appearances for the team, the defender was promoted to the reserve team this season, where he has caught the eye once again. In his eight appearances for the Under-23s, Phillips has scored two goals as well. But he is yet to make his senior debut for Tony Mowbray’s side, although he was named on the bench for an FA Cup tie earlier this year.

Able to represent both Wales and England at the international level, he played one game for the former at the Under-16 level before switching to the latter. Phillips has three appearances for the Three Lions’ Under-17 outfit. The 16-year-old is held in the highest regard within the club, with first-team boss Mowbray tipping him for a bright future. 

“He’s 6ft 4′, he’s fast, mobile and can pass it really well. He can use both feet, he’s composed. 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,” he said. He’s an exciting prospect, is all I’d say. He is just a boy, but he’s got some amazing attributes. We’ve got high hopes that he can progress quickly.”

Naturally, clubs from the top-flight have taken note of the youngster’s development. Tottenham were credited with an interest in Phillips recently, while Everton are also keen on signing him. However, as per the report, Chelsea and Manchester United are at the front of the queue to capture the 16-year-old’s services.

Chelsea have a top youth facility and have been churning out some exciting talents from within the club. The likes of Mason Mount, Reece James, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Trevoh Chalobah have paved the way for future prospects to break into the senior team at Stamford Bridge. And it is only understandable that the Blues would want to continue strengthening their youth ranks, with Phillips emerging as a target.

Meanwhile, Manchester United have a long history of pushing talented youth players onto the first-team stage. Marcus Rashford and Scott McTominay have become mainstays in the side, while Anthony Elanga is also carving out a place for himself this season. And the Red Devils wish to continue bolstering their academy ranks to keep the assembly line going.

With the race heating up for Phillips’ signing, it will be interesting to see who among Manchester United and Chelsea come out on top.

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