Why Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips must be in Gareth Southgate's final England squad - but who will miss out?

SIX Leeds United players are definitely heading to this summer's Euros - and a magnificent seven should be completed by Tuesday tea time.

Tuesday, 1st June 2021, 11:41 am

That's if Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate names Whites midfielder Kalvin Phillips in his final 26-man squad and it looks highly likely that he will.

If so, the Yorkshire Pirlo will join Whites team mates Gjanni Alioski (North Macedonia), Liam Cooper (Scotland), Mateusz Klich (Poland), Robin Koch (Germany), Diego Llorente (Spain) and Tyler Roberts (Wales) in representing their countries at Euro 2020 - held in 2021.

There were obvious fears as Phillips injured himself in a challenge in the very last minute of United's season finale against West Brom and stayed down with a clearly painful shoulder injury.

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But Whites head coach Marcelo Bielsa quickly hailed the midfielder's healing powers and the club then issued a positive update about the midfielder's fitness the following day.

Southgate then opted to name a bumper and provisional 33-man long list, for which Phillips was included, but there was no place even in an extended squad for the likes of Patrick Bamford, Jack Harrison or Luke Ayling.

Southgate essentially named a larger squad to allow himself more time given injuries to key players, including Phillips, but with Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson top of the list from that perspective.

But Phillips has trained with England since and it would be a huge surprise if he was not included in the final 26-man squad which will be named at 5pm on Tuesday tea time.

QUICK RECOVERY: For Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips who is training with England. Photo by Mattia Ozbot/Getty Images.

Southgate - who is also expected to name a standby list - is then holding a press conference at 6pm.

Phillips only made his Three Lions debut in September 2020 but the 25-year-old midfielder has quickly amassed seven caps including six starts.

The initial debate concerned whether Southgate would play Phillips or West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice in front of the back four and essentially the answer has been playing both.

That has even meant Phillips being fielded in a slightly more advanced role as a no 8.

The one complication is the fitness of Liverpool captain Henderson and if Henderson is fit then it is unlikely that Phillips, Rice and Henderson can all start, even in the most cautious of Southgate line ups.

But there are still doubts about Henderson's fitness and Southgate is clearly a big fan of Phillips who could even slot into a centre back role if required.

He already looks a pretty vital cog.

Another option in Eric Dier has already been overlooked and whilst seven players are set to miss out, it seems unlikely that Phillips will be one of them.

Southgate has clearly been impressed with Brighton's former Whites loanee Ben White of late who is in the 33 and another who could play in midfield if required.

But White has likely been brought in given the doubts about Maguire and as far as the middle of the park is concerned it looks like being two from three starters out of Phillips, Rice and Henderson with one on the bench.

White was always likely to represent the Three Lions soon and made a surge into the 33-man long list.

Interestingly, former Leeds defender Danny Mills said on Sky Sports News on Tuesday morning that he expected White to even make the final 26, and that defenders Ben Godfrey and Conor Coady plus Aaron Ramsdale, James Ward-Prowse, Bukayo Saka and Ollie Watkins might miss out.

That's only six left behind, but Manchester United forward Mason Greenwood then withdrew from the squad shortly afterwards, complicating the picture and seemingly giving a boost to Watkins.

One other will miss out - but it is not expected to be Phillips - and can Southgate really take four right backs, even if using a wing back system?

All will be revealed but, in short, the shoulder injury looked like being the biggest hurdle for Phillips to overcome.

The Yorkshire Pirlo looks to have cleared that with air to spare and should be granted his Euros dream come Tuesday tea time.

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Thank you Laura Collins