Jose Mourinho praises Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips for role in England's defensive foundations

Jose Mourinho has hailed the defensive foundations laid for England by the likes of Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips.

Monday, 5th July 2021, 3:44 pm
Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips ahead of kick-off for England in Rome. Pic: Getty

Gareth Southgate's Three Lions are yet to concede a goal at this summer's European Championships and have secured passage into the final four.

Phillips had played every single minute of the competition in the heart of midfield alongside Declan's Rice prior to his substitution against Ukraine last weekend.

The two have struck up a strong partnership in the middle to give Southgate's men an element of control and protect an ever-changing system behind.

Sign up to our Leeds United newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips.

England and Phillips are now preparing for a semi-final clash with Denmark on Wednesday night at Wembley in the capital.

“I think the back four with the amazing Euros that both central midfielders [Phillips and Rice] are doing is more than enough to control Denmark offensively," Mourinho told talkSPORT.

"And then you have four players to decide the creativity of the game. Do England need to play with the back three like against Germany? My answer is no.

"Germany is a different way to play three at the back. This match doesn’t need England to adapt and match Denmark.

“It is there that Maguire may have some doubts. Raheem Sterling and Kane is clear and there are two places in my opinion that are open. Gareth has to make the best decision.

“Jadon Sancho played well, Phil Foden started the tournament, the same with Mason Mount. Jack Grealish – it looks like he’s not the favourite player of Gareth but every minute he’s on the pitch is doing is well.

“I don’t believe it’s needed to play with a back three like they did against Germany.”