PHILIP BILLING is the Premier League’s tallest midfielder, standing at a giant 6ft 6in.
But Huddersfield’s great Dane admits there is one area of his game which comes up short… his heading!
Philip Billing has enhanced his reputation this season despite Huddersfield’s struggles[/caption]
Billing, 22, surprisingly says he has “never been good in the air”, even though he dwarfs his opponents.
And while stats this season show he has won more aerial duels than any midfielder after Leicester’s Wilfred Ndidi, the towering Terrier thinks his height should yield more goals.
Billing, 22, told SunSport: “I’ve always been bad at attacking the ball, just not aggressive enough.
“In my whole career, I honestly think I have scored two headers – one in the Under-21s with Huddersfield and then away at Everton this season.
“But even that one, I just reacted to it. It wasn’t really like I was in a battle for it.
Billing scored the first and only headed goal of his senior career against Everton[/caption]
“If you leave me and the ball comes to me, I will probably head it in. But if you mark me, it’s different.
“I think it’s because I never practised it as a kid. I always just had the ball on the ground.
“It was only really when I came over here that winning headers became a big thing – I’ve seen people over here make careers of it.
“With my size, if I jump high and get my timing right, I should be winning everything really.
“But it’s about being aggressive and going up and doing it.
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“I think I’ve started to show that a bit more this season because I knew I had to be a lot better in the air with my height.”
Billing is aware that the only outfield player in the top flight taller than him is his fellow Dane, Jan Vestergaard, the Southampton centre-half.
But he said: “Because I’ve always had good agility and good balance, I never feel like I am 6ft 6in playing football – I feel more like 5ft 11.
“It’s only when I see myself playing and I’m like, ‘Oh, I’m a lot taller than all of the others!’.”
Billing says he shot up aged 17, shortly after he moved to Huddersfield following a successful week-long trial from Danish club Esbjerg.
And his size caused him issues when he received his first call-up to the first team for a Championship game against Bolton in April 2014.
The slender-built Billing smiled: “I thought I could just turn up at the game in my tracksuit or my normal clothes, but I had to get a suit!
“I’d never worn a suit before and I had to find one that fit me.
“I went to Next with the kit man Brooky and I eventually found a suit that fit my height.
“But that meant it was too baggy so I had to get it tailored!”
Billing is too embarrassed for us to publish a photo of said suit, in which he is stood with the local couple who housed him when he first moved from Denmark.
But it leads to further recollections of his early days in England, as he admitted: “I had to get used to a lot of things. The food, driving on the other side of the road.
“I understood English but speaking it was difficult for me when I arrived.
“I lived with a couple in Mirfield for a year and a half.
“I had to get used to that because when you live with a family, there are rules that they and the club set.
“But they made me feel very comfortable over here and they looked after me well.”
Billing revealed he had to go on the Fifa video game to find out who Huddersfield were when his step-dad first informed him of their interest.
But the central midfielder has gone on to be a major success story for the club’s academy, which now concentrates solely on Under-17s and above.
And Billing has enhanced his ever-growing reputation this season, picking up plaudits despite the rock-bottom Terriers only collecting ten points from 21 matches.
Yet he said: “After a game, I always think there was more I could have shown – even when people have said I played well.
“I know I’ve stepped up my game this season, but I still think there is so much more to come.
“I think I have been good off the ball this season, but I need to be doing a lot more with the ball because I know I have the qualities to do that.”
Huddersfield will need Billing at his best if they are to have any hope of pulling off a Great Escape.
They have lost their last eight league games and head to relegation rivals Cardiff today sitting eight points adrift of safety.
But Billing added: “It might be tiring but we have to believe.
“We need to get rid of that small-club mentality.
“Maybe we are not the biggest club, but we are in the Premier League so we need to go out there and give every team a fight.
“We have nothing to be nervous about, we have got nothing to lose.
“Nobody believed that we would be here in the first place.
“When we were in the Championship, a few people thought we would go down to League One and we ended up getting promoted.
“Leicester won the league a few years ago. It shows anything can happen.”
This post written by David Coverdale originally appeared on Football news - transfers, fixtures, scores, pictures | The Sun. Read the full post here.