So England have qualified for next year’s European Championships.
Between now and then it’s going to be a case of players fighting it out to be part of the 23-man-squad. However, the former Premier League man has pointed out one player that could make an impact for the Three Lions, and that’s Leeds United’s Kalvin Phillips:
“Looking outside the current squad, there are not exactly many English defensive midfielders excelling in the Premier League. But in Leeds’ Kalvin Phillips I see someone who could force his way into Southgate’s reckoning. The 23-year-old has been outstanding for Marcelo Bielsa’s side and has a number of really good attributes.”
Now whilst it is great to see Phillips getting this kind of praise at this point in his career, I do think people just need to calm down a little bit when it comes to his expectations and calling for him to go into the England senior team, when he hasn’t even got a youth cap, or kicked a ball in the top flight yet.
Yes it’s true that he is such a vital part of how Leeds set up and operate under Marcelo Bielsa, but I think it’s far too early to judge if he could make an impact on the international level yet.
Gareth Southgate did say last summer that he’d be open to players from the Championship, but hasn’t yet followed through on that by picking players from the second tier on a regular basis, so even he knows that the step up from the second tier to international level is hard, and that’s why it’s difficult to see someone like Phillips make that jump next summer.
We’ve seen a number of players excel when they are in the Championship, only to then fail to perform when they go up to the Premier League. Then add to it that international football is a step beyond that and you are essentially saying that Phillips should be stepping up two levels next summer rather than just one.
Should Phillips be in the England squad?
Yes, he is better than the current options
No, England don't need Phillips
Don’t get me wrong, I want him to get into the England squad at some stage, I just think making that move now could put him out of his depth, and then lead to negative displays for his club.