West Ham midfielder Declan Rice discusses England partnership with Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips

The Hammers midfielder has talked about his partnership with Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips.

Wednesday, 31st March 2021, 1:40 pm
Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips and West Ham's Declan Rice greet after their Premier League meeting. Pic: Getty

Declan Rice believes his midfield partnership with Kalvin Phillips can bring balance and control to Gareth Southgate's England team.

Three Lions boss Southgate opted to deploy both holding midfielders for his side's World Cup qualifier against Albania last weekend.

England ran out 2-0 winners as Rice completed the full match while Phillips was substituted in the 71st minute.

Sign up to our Leeds United newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Rice acknowledges that fans and pundits may want Southgate to opt for a more attacking midfield line-up but he understands the manager's current approach.

"I think in Gareth's mind you can't go too attacking," Rich said ahead of tonight's clash with Poland at Wembley.

"You can't go all out all the time because the opposition have got quality and can hurt you.

"No-one kicks up a fuss, we all go out there and know our jobs. There is a lot of talk around not needing two holding midfielders, why not playing six attackers?

"I kind of understand why the manager sometimes doesn't do that. There has to be that balance between the two.

"We have control of the ball, we try to move the ball really quickly, try to shift the teams from side to side and then look for openings.

"I think we are a really entertaining team to watch. I think people complain all the time and say that we are not, but I think we have really improved as a group over the past couple of years."

Asked about whether he thought he had already sealed a spot in England's midfield ahead of this summer's Euros, Rice said: "No, I don’t think you can ever think like that.

“We have got such a strong squad and such strong competition in the middle. Healthy competition, competition that you want leading into a European Championship.”