Speaking in the Independent, England boss Gareth Southgate said that the door is wide open for players who might not have broken into the England set-up with EURO 2020 postponed for a year. In mentioning players like Ben White and Kalvin Phillips, it certainly started tongues wagging in West Yorkshire.

Commenting on what the England set-up could look like for the EURO 2021 championships, Southgate said the Independent that there were opportunities for players currently outside of the fold at the moment. Focusing on what he had to say, the England boss stressed:

I’m very conscious there will be a group of around 30 to 35 who have been in and around the squad in the past 12-18 months, who will be in the frame, but there will be some guys who come late.

He then went on to give specific examples and also name-dropped the two Leeds United players along the way. Southgate clarified by saying:

We’ve talked about those two (Mason Greenwood and Phil Foden), but it could be a Ben White, who has been on loan at Leeds, or a Kalvin Phillips that haven’t played Premier League football yet. Those sorts of players could come into the frame. We’re always open to what it looks like.

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Kalvin Phillips has been a man reborn under Marcelo Bielsa these past two seasons. he’s gone from your bang-average, box-to-ox midfielder to a defensive midfield powerhouse in the mould of Claude Makelele. He’s not just an enforcer though, Phillips is much more than that. He’s the pivot that orchestrates Leeds United’s attacking play as well; his range of passing playing the ball out with ease from the back.

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With Phillips being mentioned by Southgate, it adds a degree of credence to claims that the Wortley-born local lad is on the verge of an England call-up. Indeed, Southgate himself has been spotted at Elland Road taking in a Leeds United game. It has also led to many on Twitter looking at Phillips and comparing him to what England already have installed as options in the side.

For example, there are some voices on Twitter saying that Kalvin Phillips is a better choice for England than West Ham starlet Declan Rice.

Phillips over Rice for England – some on Twitter say yes

It’s actually not just something centred around what Southgate said either. It’s a debate that’s been going on for longer than that.

As with any opinion, you will get those who think differently. However, there’s more than a healthy number of people on Twitter who see Leeds United’s Kalvin Phillips as a better choice for England that West Ham’s Declan Rice.

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Who is the better midfield fit for England? Declan Rice or Kalvin Phillips?

Declan Rice

Kalvin Phillips