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.”
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.
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
Genuinely believe Phillips > Rice, PL football or not.
— Seb Wassell 🏳️🌈 (@SebWassell) June 14, 2020
Kalvin Phillips and Bent White over Mings and Rice any day of the week
— Mitchell Burley-Emmerson (@MitchellEmmers2) June 14, 2020
Ben White is pure class and should be starting for England not just in the squad and Phillips is way better than Rice ! These are just facts , i dont care what div they are playing in !
— Steve Bryant (@vivanagsvegas) June 14, 2020
They both have that creativity and quality for central midfield which rice and lingard lack, and especially grealish he’s perfect player to earn more free kicks to exploit using our tall defenders that we have. And Phillips in that holding dm role offers way more than rice & dier
— RyanJohnson (@ryanlpjohnson) June 14, 2020
I can’t think of anyone else who is as suited to the number 6 as Phillips is. Rice and Henderson are sideways passers. Phillips is so suited to being that type of player. If he was in the Prem I don’t think there’d be any doubt.
— Brendan (@Brendan_1603) June 14, 2020
I’d like to see a midfield 3 of Phillips, Henderson and Grealish for England but I’m not sure Southgate is a massive fan of Grealish. Other than his play acting, I think he’s a quality player – him and James Maddison offer something different to the likes of Rice and Lingard.
— Shaun (@ShaunPK92) June 14, 2020
He’s had his best season yet hasn’t he this season..Phillips looks good in championship and is probably better than rice and a few others tbf but needs to do it on the prem
— Ryan Lammas (@Ryanlam1991) June 14, 2020
A positive that the euros are next year is that we’ll all be able to see that Kalvin Phillips is miles better than Declan rice and should be in the England midfield pic.twitter.com/bFXCC5t5bK
— Liam Newton🏄♂️ (@liamnewton17_) June 12, 2020
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.
When someone says Declan Rice is better than Kalvin Phillips https://t.co/8yHKby63G9
— Thomas Roberts (@Thomas_Roberts2) May 24, 2020
He is ready, no bias at all but Kalvin Phillips is way more technical, has a better range of passing and is more mobile than Dier & Rice. Might be crazy for some to believe now, but when he is in the prem (with Leeds!) people will see 👍🏾
— Kagey (@Kagey_) May 26, 2020
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.