'He played it as he plays it for Leeds United' - Gareth Southgate on Kalvin Phillips' performance in England win

Gareth Southgate said Kalvin Phillips' 'excellent' second half performance for England in the defensive midfield role was reminiscent of his Leeds United displays.

Tuesday, 22nd June 2021, 11:20 pm
Updated Tuesday, 22nd June 2021, 11:24 pm
HAPPY BOSS - Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips pleased England manager Gareth Southgate with his performance in the defensive midfield role against Czech Republic. Pic: Getty
HAPPY BOSS - Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips pleased England manager Gareth Southgate with his performance in the defensive midfield role against Czech Republic. Pic: Getty

Phillips started and finished the 1-0 Wembley win over Czech Republic, making his 11th appearance for the national team since his 2020 September England debut.

The Whites player has now played every minute of England's three games at the Euros and is the only outfield player to do so, proving just how much Southgate trusts him. But he got his first major tournament taste of the role he plays for Leeds in the second half of tonight's game.

At the break Southgate chose to replace Declan Rice, who occupied the holding midfield position in the first half, with Jordan Henderson, the Liverpool captain taking Phillips' role to the right hand side of central midfield. Phillips, in turn, dropped deeper into the role he has mastered under Marcelo Bielsa at Elland Road.

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Southgate was delighted with how Phillips performed.

"We wanted to get Jordan 45 minutes so that was the decision and it also allowed us to play Kalvin more positionally," he said.

"I thought he was excellent, really good. I like him in that role, the defensive pivot.

"His use of the ball was good, he found the right spaces to go and recieve, he played it as he plays it for Leeds. We know how comfortable he is in that role. He showed again how well he's adapted to international football."

England secured top spot in Group D with the win and a last 16 game against the runners-up of Group F, which contains France, Portugal, Germany and Hungary. It is still possible for any of the four teams to finish second and take on England at Wembley on June 29.