TalkSPORT pundit outlines key role Kalvin Phillips can play in securing Euro 2020 glory for England
TalkSPORT pundit Tony Cascarino has urged England manager Gareth Southgate to play Jordan Henderson alongside Kalvin Phillips and Declan Rice in midfield against Italy on Sunday evening.
The Three Lions are gearing up for the final of Euro 2020 at Wembley, but will face their most difficult test yet in Roberto Mancini’s side.
One of the biggest strengths in the Italians’ squad is their midfield trio of Jorginho, Marco Verratti, and Nicolo Barella, and Cascarino believes that Southgate should introduce an extra body into the centre of the park to help Phillips and Rice stifle their creativity.
Speaking on talkSPORT, he said: "I think Gareth would really consider going with a three [in midfield].
"I say that because I think he’ll probably leave out [Bukayo] Saka, push [Mason] Mount to the right if he was going to do that, and then go Phillips, Rice, Henderson.
"I think with that you’ve got three ball-winning midfielders who can also play. All of them are very gifted when you’ve got the ball, but will defend brilliantly and can try and stop that midfield from creating.
"They do it really well Italy The front three have got incredible movement. If you can stop the pass into their movement, I think that’s a great way of going about it.
"I thought Spain did that really well.”
Former Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho has also emphasised the importance of England winning their midfield battle against Italy on Sunday.
Speaking to talkSPORT, the Special One singled out Rice and Phillips for praise, and reiterated the need for Southgate to stick with the duo in his starting XI.
He said: “Their midfield is the engine of that Italy team, the midfield players are better than the attacking players, and it’s there where they have all the control of the games.
“I see England in a great need to keep that great couple of Rice and Phillips, because it’s there that the game is going to be decided in terms of more dominance or less dominance.”
John Barnes has also come out in praise of the pair, arguing that they are the two most important players in the Three Lions’ squad.