Alan Shearer makes claim about Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips and England role

England midfield duo Kalvin Phillips and Declan Rice are giving Gareth Southgate's attackers a platform to go and play.

By Joe Urquhart
Sunday, 4th July 2021, 9:44 am
Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips post-match following England's win over Ukraine. Pic: Getty
Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips post-match following England's win over Ukraine. Pic: Getty

That's according to former Three Lions striker Alan Shearer who has been thoroughly impressed with what he has seen so far from the partnership.

The Leeds United and West Ham pairing on the international stage have helped Gareth Southgate's men into the final four of this summer's European Championships.

England produced a clinical performance against Ukraine on Saturday night in Rome by putting Andriy Shevchenko's men to the sword 4-0.

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A double from captain Harry Kane and goals from Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson sent the Three Lions through in emphatic fashion at the Stadio Olimpico.

Phillips and Rice were selected again in the heart of midfield to make it five starts in a row together at the Euros.

England are still yet to concede a goal at the tournament and the pair are earning plaudits for the freedom they are also giving to their more attacking team-mates going forward.

"Those two sitting midfielders have been magnificent in most games," Shearer reflected.

"That allows players ahead of them to go and express themselves. Whether it's [Jack] Grealish who comes on, [Jadon] Sancho, Harry Kane, [Raheem] Sterling, I don't think that matters because he's got so many options and they're all in form.

“We started the tournament slowly, we are improving in every game. My head is telling me to calm down, but my heart is getting carried away and long may that continue.

“What a performance, what a night. There were so many special performances. It is really positive. Well done Gareth, well done England.”

England will now face Denmark - who toppled the Czech Republic to reach the final four - in the semi-finals of the tournament at Wembley on Wednesday night.

“The biggest compliment I can give Gareth and his team is that I have never seen an England team so composed under such pressure with so much at stake," former Whites defender Rio Ferdinand said.

“All of the players coming on, they are all impacting the game in a positive way, the manager is utilising the squad.

“He has been able to do that because of the quality out there, everyone is justifying their selection.

“This (England) team, they grind you down, they work you hard, they ask questions of you physically and mentally – ‘can you deal with us?’

“They manage every phase of the game and at the end of it they are potent, now they are starting to get goals, which is what we were waiting for.”

Frank Lampard added: "At this level of football, regardless of the opposition, what you are asked to do is do a job, and we did every bit of that job right.

“We ticked every box, individual performances reflected the mentality of the team, the subs who came on, we got minutes for players who are part of this squad.

“Now you have to fight, possibly over-confidence. It is time for us to get excited after that, but for them to keep their heads down and concentrate.”