Sky Sports pundit Danny Higginbotham has tipped Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips to gatecrash England’s squad for Euro 2020 after the Three Lions secured a seeded spot at the summer showpiece.
In the Sun after England’s 4-0 victory over Kosovo, in which Declan Rice produced another underwhelming performance, former Manchester United man Higginbotham backed Phillips to get into Gareth Southgate’s plans.
He said: “Who will be first-choice defensive midfielder? In Kalvin Phillips I see someone who could force his way into Southgate’s reckoning. If Phillips continues in this current vein of form then I see no reason why he shouldn’t be involved (in March).
“In a position which is yet to be locked down, Phillips is well worth having a look at. The 23-year-old has been outstanding for Marcelo Bielsa’s side and has a number of really good attributes. I like his positional sense, he’s a very good tackler, and his distribution both long and short is fantastic.
“Phillips has never played in the Premier League. But I don’t have an issue with that at all — there were plenty of clubs in for him over the summer and he would undoubtedly be playing in the top tier now if Leeds hadn’t done everything to keep hold of him.”
TBR’s View – If Leeds had been promoted last season, Phillips may be in England’s plans already
Tyrone Mings’ emergence as a credible England option since Aston Villa’s promotion to the Premier League suggests that Phillips might have had a chance if Leeds were in the top flight.
As it is, Southgate seems unlikely to pull a player from the Championship into his plans at such a late stage, especially given his reluctance to do so with Jack Grealish last season.