Stephen Warnock pays ultimate compliment to England partnership between Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips and West Ham's Declan Rice

FORMER Whites captain Stephen Warnock has paid the ultimate compliment to the England midfield partnership between Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips and West Ham's Declan Rice.

Monday, 5th July 2021, 12:52 pm

Phillips and Rice have started all five of England's clashes at Euro 2020 alongside each other in the middle of the park.

Gareth Southgate's preference to start two predominantly holding midfielders in the same team was initially met with criticism in some quarters by those suggesting that the Three Lions boss should instead unleash another more attacking option.

But Phillips and Rice have helped England storm to the semi-finals without conceding a goal and Warnock says their partnership is even stronger than the pairings in England's defence.

Sign up to our Leeds United newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

MIDFIELD PARTNERS: England duo Declan Rice, second left, and Kalvin Phillips, third left, are arm in arm for the national anthem prior to the group stages finale against Czech Republic at Wembley. Photo by Neil Hall - Pool/Getty Images.

Manchester United's Harry Maguire has recently returned from injury to the Three Lions side to form a strong allegiance with John Stones at centre-back and also Red Devils team mate Luke Shaw at left back.

Warnock says the return of Maguire has been key but says the partnership between Rice and Phillips is even more impressive.

"When we talk about relationships on the pitch there are relationships that are key," said Warnock, speaking on Sky Sports News.

"The relationship between Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw brings the best out of each other, the relationship that he (Maguire) has built up with John Stones has been great because what you often see is that when Harry Maguire steps through, Luke Shaw fills in and John Stones comes in tighter so that works really well.

"And then the partnership in front is even better for me is Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips "

A message from the Editor:

Leeds has a fantastic story to tell - and the Yorkshire Evening Post has been rooted firmly at the heart of telling the stories of our city since 1890.

We believe in ourselves and hope you believe in us too. We need your support to help ensure we can continue to be at the heart of life in Leeds.

Subscribe to our website and enjoy unlimited access to local news and information online and on our app.

With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content.

Click here to subscribe.

For more details on our newspaper subscription offers click here.

Thank you Laura Collins