Only a matter of time before Kalvin Phillips plays for England
15 Feb 2020 09:12 pm, by YorkshireSquare
Leeds United have turned things around in the last couple of games and it’s probably no coincidence that Kalvin Phillips has been back in the side. He has been the driving force of Marcel Bielsa’s side for the past 18 months and his presence in the team has been missed. For all the talk of Brentford’s potent attacking line up last week; Ollie Watkins, Bryan Mbeumo, Saïd Benrahma, they were nullified by Kalvin Phillips as he dominated the midfield. 66 successful passes, 14 ball recoveries, 94 touches, 87% pass succession rate, it was a performance he owed the team but he delivered. Brentford fans took to social media praising his performance…
Leeds hit prime time earlier this year with 6.15 million BBC One viewers dazzled by the Whites first half performance as they outclassed Arsenal in the FA Cup. Arsenal had a midfield worth hundreds of million of pounds on display but Leeds United’s Kalvin Phillips shone above them all. World Cup winner Mesut Ozil’s name may have been on the team sheet but he was nowhere to be seen, comprehensively dealt with by Phillips. Adrian Durham commented on Talk Sport the next day, “Kalvin Phillips is the player Granit Xhaka probably dreams of being.”
Durham also raised a point Leeds fans have been stating for a while, “If he had been in the Premier League this season, I think he would be in the England squad!” It’s a fair point, Phillips has been outstanding for Leeds for the past 18 months, the ‘Yorkshire Pirlo’ has been a revelation since Marcelo Bielsa arrived at Leeds and reinvented him into one of the best defensive midfielders in the country. A lad who struggled to get into a mid-table Leeds United side three seasons ago is now bossing games week in, week out and Monday proved he can go toe to toe with the best in the world too.
But will Phillips get a chance to take on the best in the world this summer with England? Has he impressed enough to get a call up for Euro 2020. The England squad largely picks its self these days but there are still question marks over the defence and holding midfield role. Gareth Southgate has alternated between Declan Rice and Harry Winks but neither has impressed enough to make the position their own. With Phillips positional sense, tackling and distribution both short and long could he be an outside contender for a spot in Southgate’s Euro 2020 squad?
The only thing going against Phillips is that he plays in the Championship but that may not be the barrier it once was. Chelsea’s Mason Mount who is a regular in the England squad now made his debut as a substitute in the 4-0 win over Bulgaria whilst on loan in the Championship at Derby. Tyrone Mings is a contender to line-up alongside Harry Maguire in defence after making his England debut back in October having played all of last season in the Championship for Aston Villa.
England have two friendlies in March against Italy and Denmark, if Phillips continues playing as he is it may be difficult for Southgate to ignore him for those fixtures. Surely it only a matter of time before Kalvin Phillips wears the three lions?