The European Championships being postponed for a year could potentially open the door for a number of players probably just a little too far out of reckoning to make the squad this summer – including Leeds United’s Kalvin Phillips.
Phillips has continued to be a revelation under Marcelo Bielsa. The 24-year-old has played a key role in taking Leeds to the top of the Championship.
The ‘Yorkshire Pirlo’ is unquestionably one of the finest talents outside of the Premier League. And his development prompted Danny Higginbotham to tell The Sun in November 2019 that the midfielder had the potential to be good enough to play for Gareth Southgate’s men at Euro 2020.
“I see someone who could force his way into Southgate’s reckoning,” he told The Sun. “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.
“Yes, 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 View – Phillips should have already been a contender to make squad
In truth, had this summer’s tournament gone ahead as planned, Phillips may have been an outside contender for a spot in the squad.
Admittedly, he would be a wildcard given he has not played for the Three Lions before. But his form in the last couple of months was particularly impressive. So it would have been foolish to rule him out of the running for a place in Southgate’s squad.
But with Euro 2020 being pushed back a year, it is surely fair to say that Higginbotham’s suggestion now looks even more realistic.
Leeds are in a fantastic position to secure promotion to the Premier League this term. There is, of course, a lot of uncertainty about right now. But if this season is completed, Bielsa’s men have a brilliant opportunity to go up to the highest level.
That would provide Phillips with the chance to prove himself in the top flight. And if he can step up, it will surely not be too long before he makes his international debut.
From there, he simply has to be in contention for a spot at next summer’s tournament.
Euro 2020’s postponement may frustrate a number of players. But for some, such as Phillips, the tournament could now come around at an ideal time.