Kalvin Phillips’ recent performance against Bristol City has got people talking. The Leeds United star put in a fine display, as he did against Brentford in the previous fixture. His return to the side has seen Leeds stop their recent slump and secure four points from two testing fixtures.
It has also caused something of an England buzz. TalkSPORT Drive presenter Adrian Durham, who has previously said Phillips has the quality to play for England, was one high-profile name-calling on Phillips to be on Gareth Southgate’s radar.
So is it really that far-fetched? Could Phillips muscle his way into the England squad for Euro 2020?
Previous reports would suggest it’s possible. Phillips is certainly on Southgate’s radar. As reported by the Daily Mail earlier this month, the England boss has watched him in action this season. It isn’t the first time either. In fact, as far back as October 2018, it was suggested by TEAMtalk that Phillips could be on the England watchlist. It was around that time that Mason Mount got an England call-up based on his form with Derby County.
With defensive midfield an issue for England, Phillips’ claim gets stronger. Eric Dier and Fabian Delph have had fitness troubles this season whilst Declan Rice is still only 21 and West Ham have had a tough season so far.
However, the case of Jack Grealish is probably the best to look at when considering Phillips’ England chances.
Aston Villa fans were calling for their playmaker to get a chance in the England squad last season which never came. But in March 2019, the England boss suggested to The Telegraph that Grealish needed more playing time in the top-flight before getting into the England selection. Now he is in fine form in the Premier League and must surely be in line for an England chance in the near future.
“Jack worked with us in the Under-21s briefly. The difficulty is always, although we can see the quality. When the evidence of the opponent is a different level, that’s where it’s hard to directly correlate what that is going to look like at a level above…
“…That’s another level in the Premier League: the speed, the pace. So, he’s a player we know all about, he’s a player we track. But that last bit of evidence that could give you confidence to pick him at the moment we won’t see.”
In the same report, however, Southgate may have given hope to Phillips and Leeds fans regarding a call-up.
“I’m not going to say we won’t pick a player from the Championship because that could happen but it’s far more difficult to assess his level.”
There is no doubt it is not impossible. Grealish is in competition with the likes of Dele Alli, James Maddison, and Mason Mount. Phillips does not have such difficult obstacles in his way.
If the ‘Yorkshire Pirlo’ continues to perform the way he has since returning from that red-card, there is no doubt he might just manage to squeeze his way into the Euro 2020 set-up.