Rio Ferdinand raves about Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips and England midfield partner Declan Rice after win over Germany
Former Leeds United and England defender Rio Ferdinand has paid tribute to the job done by Kalvin Phillips and Declan Rice for the quarter-final bound Three Lions.
Whites star Phillips and his midfield partner were both influential in England s 2-0 win over Germany at Wembley.
Gareth Southgate's defensive set-up has come under scrutiny but 81-times capped Ferdinand was impressed with the way the England players performed for their boss.
"We hadn’t won our first game coming into the Euros – we got rid of that," said the BBC pundit.
“We hadn’t beaten Germany here like this – this team are breaking down barriers. Everyone was saying ‘Southgate is conservative and negative, he’s not someone who takes risks’. But he had a game plan to be hard to beat, hese players are playing for this manager, you can tell.”
The way Phillips and Rice protected the back line also caught Ferdinand's eye.
"In that midfield area, Jordan Henderson is captain of Liverpool, he's won the Champions League and Premier League, he's being kept out by players like Rice and Phillips," he said.
"They're doing a tremendous job of screening the back three and when they get the ball they're progressive."
Former England striker Alan Shearer was in agreement over the defensive solidity the pair gave England in their last 16 win over their historic rivals.
"Obviously they're lacking a bit of creativity but in terms of being tough to beat, those two add a lot to that," he said.
"Well done to Gareth Southgate because he had a plan before the game.
“There were plenty of impatient people in the stadium shouting for more forward players on the pitch, but he had his game plan.
“He put Grealish on at the right time, they got a bit of luck when Muller went through… it was a very dogged performance and they did what they had to do.”
England will now face either Ukraine or Sweden in the quarter-finals in Rome on Saturday.