One in one out for Leeds United? Gareth Southgate on England team selection as Kalvin Phillips and Patrick Bamford prepare for Poland

England boss Gareth Southgate is expected to restore one Leeds United player to his starting line-up, while dropping another to the bench tomorrow in Poland.

Tuesday, 7th September 2021, 4:40 pm
LEEDS FRIENDS - Patrick Bamford and Kalvin Phillips are part of Gareth Southgate's England squad ahead of Wednesday night's World Cup Qualifying clash with Poland. Pic: Getty

An important World Cup Qualifying clash against Paulo Sousa's Polish side in Warsaw is likely to see Southgate revert to something much closer to his first-choice side, having made 11 changes for the win over Andorra on Sunday.

Patrick Bamford made his England debut in that game, getting just over an hour of international action before being replaced by Harry Kane, who is almost certain to start up front tomorrow night. The Wembley fixture was a dream come true for Bamford, but he was unable to cap it with a goal with service from midfield distinctly lacking.

Kalvin Phillips, conversely, sat out at the weekend for the first time in 10 England games, but his emergence as a regular under Southgate suggests he's a heavy favourite to return to the team for a contest the Three Lions boss says could be a big step toward World Cup qualification.

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With two 4-0 wins already in the September international break, Southgate's squad are in good form but he's warned against complacency.

"It's been a lot more straightforward than last September was, that's for certain," he said.

"As a team we have to recognise we're in a good moment. The team are playing well, a squad of players, any of whom are more than comfortable coming into the side, are playing well coming into the team. But also those moments are dangerous because, if we get any sense of complacency, we are going into a game that will be a challenge.

"It is a high level of motivation but also guarding against a feeling we are better than we are. We are getting a good set of results because we are working hard for each other."

Southgate recognises the difficulty of an away game against a team who need to win and will undoubtedly bring key players back into the side, but refused to accept his decisions over team selection are simple ones.

"You could argue over what is our strongest team," he said.

"The team that played in Hungary, we were able to rest those guys but there is still huge competition for places in this group. It's not so straightforward to say this team will go again and give the same level of performance. The challenge will be different, the rhythm and problems you might get on the night can be different. We can't just drift into the match."

Where Phillips will help mitigate a problem is in bringing intensity to the England midfield.

Southgate wants his team to get the defensive side of their performance, against Robert Lewandowski and others the England boss considers dangerous attackers, just right.

"The flow will be different, they're in a better moment [than Hungary], they've won their last two, they have some good footballers who will keep the ball a bit better than Hungary did," he said.

"The detail of how we defend, how we press has to be spot on.