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Phillips on Barnsley, Wembley heartache & training with Gerrard

When Josh Windass scored his last-gasp winner to send Sheffield Wednesday to the Championship, Adam Phillips could only watch on helplessly after his controversial dismissal.

“At the time it was very disappointing and a lot of things were going through my head as I could not understand the sending off.” the midfielder tells Sky Sports as he reflected on last season’s play-off final heartache.

Barnsley's Adam Phillips walks off the pitch after being sent off for serious foul play during the Sky Bet League One play-off final.
Image: Phillips walks off the pitch after being sent off for serious foul play during the League One play-off final

“You see so many challenges like that or worse that don’t get a red card and I thought, ‘how have I been punished for it?'”

Fast forward to today and Phillips has just won the Sky Bet League One Player of the Month award for February – scoring two match-winning braces against Leyton Orient and promotion rivals Derby County.

Adam Phillips of Barnsley FC wins EFL Sky Bet League One player of the month award for February 2024 at Oakwell, Barnsley, United Kingdom, 7th March 2024.

His scintillating form has helped Barnsley climb to fourth in League One, sitting three points off an automatic promotion place.

“In football you’ve always always got an opportunity to recover and go again so hopefully I can put things right this year and get promoted,” Phillips says.

“My season didn’t start how I wanted it to but in the last month I’ve managed to pull it back and help the team.”

Barnsley's Adam Phillips celebrates scoring during a Sky Bet League One match.

Phillips grew up supporting Liverpool but initially turned down the chance to join the club, signing for Blackburn Rovers as it was closer to his family at the time.

A few years later, the Reds approached him again and this time there was no hesitation, as he made his “dream” come true in signing for his boyhood club.

Adam Phillips in Liverpool pre-season game

At the age of 16, he got his chance to train with the first team and alongside his idol Steven Gerrard after being selected by manager Brendan Rodgers for their pre-season tour of the USA.

“It was an unbelievable experience for me to go away with the squad at such a young age,” Phillips says. “Training with Steven Gerrard who as a kid I grew up idolising was massive for me.

“It was a dream come true to play for the club and I learnt a lot about myself during my time there.”

The midfielder was making quite the impression being touted as the heir to his idol’s throne but a series of back injuries stalled his progress and he was released from the club in 2017.

Adam Phillips and Jordan Henderson of Liverpool in action during a training session at Harvard University.

Following this, he signed for Norwich on a two-year contract but would not make a single appearance for the club, while also struggling to make an impact during loan moves to Cambridge and Hamilton during that time.

“When I was younger I had a lot of injuries so I was dealt with quite a few setbacks where I was not on the pitch and training regularly.

“It was tough because no player wants to be injured and this meant the loan moves I made didn’t really work out for me.”

It was at Morecambe where he would make a name for himself and he says that the club gave him the platform to succeed, becoming a first-team regular during his three loan moves to Lancashire.

Chelsea's Antonio Rudiger attempts to block the cross from Morecambe's Adam Phillips during the Emirates FA Cup third round match at Stamford Bridge, London.
Image: Chelsea’s Antonio Rudiger attempts to block the cross from Morecambe’s Phillips during the Emirates FA Cup third round match at Stamford Bridge

“It was a perfect move for me and they gave me the platform there to just play and enjoy my football,” he continues.

“It’s put me in good stead now because I feel like I’m quite experienced and now have a lot of games under my belt.”

Since joining Barnsley in 2022, Phillips has become a key player for Neil Collins’ side, reaching double figures for goals and assists during his first season for the club and on track to better that tally this season.

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Highlights from the Sky Bet League One match between Barnsley and Derby

Four goals and three assists from the 26-year-old in February have put the club firmly in the race for automatic promotion, and Phillips says his focus is on getting the Tykes back to where they belong as he looks to put the pain of last season behind him.

“That is where we want to be and where the club should be so we are going to push for promotion come the end of the season,” he says.

“I want to contribute as much as I can to the team as a creative midfielder.

“I’m on track at the minute so hopefully I can get to where I want to get after what happened last year.”

Sky News
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