Gary Neville lends full support to Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips and fires England warning over change

GARY NEVILLE says Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips must keep his place in the England side at Euro 2020 and has warned of the dangers of "emptying" the Three Lions midfield.

Monday, 21st June 2021, 1:40 pm

Rice and Phillips are both recognised as natural holding midfielders and the duo have both played the full duration of England's first two games of this summer's European Championships.

Phillips played in a more advanced role than Rice in England's Group D opener against Croatia in which Phillips excelled and set up the only goal of the game for Raheem Sterling.

But the Three Lions then lacked a creative edge in Friday night's goalless draw against Scotland at Wembley which led to debate about England's centre midfield and also the form of striker Harry Kane upfront.

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SUPPORT: For Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips, above, from Gary Neville. Photo by Andy Rain - Pool/Getty Images.

Kane was taken off for Marcus Rashford in the 74th minute but boss Gareth Southgate has already said Kane will start Tuesday's group stages finale against the Czech Republic and Neville says England's centre midfield must also stay as it is.

There have been calls in some quarters for Southgate to play just one of Phillips or Rice to accommodate another more attacking option in the middle of the park such as Jack Grealish or Phil Foden.

"I disagree maybe with some of the fans that I have seen on social media in the last few days saying we have got to go and attack teams," said Neville on Sky Sports News.

"What does that mean?

"I saw the other day where there was a feeling that we should play Foden and Rice in midfield.

"We cannot empty midfield and expose that back four.

"Gareth will not do that and I think we have got to be a little bit sensible.

"The only chance we do have in this tournament is to have that 'box' - those two centre backs and Rice and Phillips in midfield - and hope that our full backs that we have got are really strong and our wide players.

"Other nations would love to have our full backs.

"If our full backs and our wide players can show that little bit of sharpness then Kane will score goals."

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Thank you Laura Collins