'Absolutely sure of that': Gary Neville makes bold claim about Leeds star
Leeds United star Kalvin Phillips is likely to remain in England’s starting XI throughout Euro 2020, according to Gary Neville.
The Whites ace has enjoyed an upwards trajectory while at Elland Road, culminating in an Euro 2020 spot.
Phillips was superb in England’s opener against Croatia, contributing defensively and offensively.
His pressing meant Croatia couldn’t get into any rhythm, his passing was spot-on, and he helped set up Raheem Sterling’s winner.
Neville, writing on Sky Sports, believes the England starting XI on Sunday suggested that Gareth Southgate knows their weakness is defence.
“I think what we saw against Croatia was Southgate’s reaction to what all of us were thinking pre-tournament,” he wrote.
“That their weakness is defence, and that they’re going to need to keep clean sheets if they’re going to win this tournament.
“That double pivot, or the two midfield players in front of the back four, isn’t going to change, you can be absolutely sure of that.
“I think Kalvin Phillips now, with the way he played against Croatia, is going to play alongside him. I don’t see Southgate changing that.
“They’ve got a good partnership, good rotation in midfield, they pass well together, and they’re certainly more ahead in their fitness than Jordan Henderson at this time.”
Leeds icon’s rise to prominence
Phillips came through the ranks at Elland Road and debuted in 2014 under Neil Redfearn.
He spent his formative years in the Leeds first team as a central midfielder.
However, Marcelo Bielsa’s arrival at Elland Road in the summer of 2018 saw him pushed further back.
Phillips has since prospered to the extent that the Leeds faithful have nicknamed him the “Yorkshire Pirlo”.
His efforts not only helped Leeds get into the Premier League but also enjoy a wonderful first season back.