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Maidstone United new boy Michael Phillips explains why he left Crystal Palace

By Craig Tucker

Michael Phillips hopes to play a big part at Maidstone after negotiating his exit from Crystal Palace.

Phillips secured an early release from the final few months of his Eagles contract in order to join the Stones.

He played against Liverpool and West Brom in the pre-season Asia Cup under Frank de Boer and also made the bench under Alan Pardew, Sam Allardyce and Roy Hodgson.

Maidstone United new boy Michael Phillips
Maidstone United new boy Michael Phillips

But a competitive debut eluded him and with no new contract offer on the table, the 20-year-old decided it was time to leave and play men's football.

It can't have been an easy decision, having joined Palace aged seven, but it's one Phillips felt was necessary for his career.

A goalscoring midfielder who can also play at the back, he offers plenty of options.

Phillips said: "Palace weren't offering a contract for next season so I decided to try and get paid up to get into men's football instead of playing under-23s. That's what you need.

"My agent phoned me and said Maidstone's interested, and a few others, but I decided to come to Maidstone.

"I was in and around the first team at the age of 17, went to Hong Kong with the first team under Frank de Boer, played against Liverpool and West Brom and went on tour to France and played then.

Frank de Boer played Michael Phillips in the Asia Cup Picture: Andy Jones
Frank de Boer played Michael Phillips in the Asia Cup Picture: Andy Jones

"But I didn't really break through and I decided just to get out of there and play men's football.

"I was gutted a few times I couldn't come on.

"Even if they were losing 3-0 I was hoping to get on, even five minutes, that was just my dream to come on and make my debut.

"I've been at the club for 12 years and it would have been great if I'd come through the academy and made my debut."

Phillips wonders whether things may have been different had de Boer not been sacked after four games, the Dutchman having taken him to Hong Kong for the Asia Cup, but it wasn't to be.

He was an unused substitute for the final time under Hodgson for the Eagles' 4-1 Carabao Cup defeat at Bristol City in October last year.

Roy Hodgson named Michael Phillips on the bench Picture: Anthony Devlin/Press Association Images
Roy Hodgson named Michael Phillips on the bench Picture: Anthony Devlin/Press Association Images

Phillips said: "The position Palace were in, managers kept coming in and out.

"Pardew was the manager the first time I went on the bench, then he got sacked, I was on the bench with Sam Allardyce a few times and then Frank de Boer.

"Even Roy Hodgson I was on the bench in the League Cup.

"They were all good, positive managers, they wanted us to feel like we were part of the first-team squad, don't be afraid to let it all out, be yourself.

"And people like Andros Townsend and Scott Dann, they just get around you a lot and help you."

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