Leeds star Kalvin Phillips could be the shock answer to England’s holding midfield conundrum – The Sun

NOW qualification is over, the most important thing for England is ensuring they know their starting XI heading into the Euros.

While the majority of the team looks settled, there are still a couple of burning questions.

Who is going to play alongside Harry Maguire at the back?

And who will be first-choice defensive midfielder? That triangle between your two centre-backs and sitting midfielder is absolutely vital.

Because against the better teams, if your defensive midfielder is too far away from the other two then you will be exposed.

If a striker drops off, then your defence is in trouble — unsure whether to push out and risk leaving a huge gap — or stay in shape and allow him to get on the ball and turn.

England have a very good pressing game but sometimes that space between the defence and midfield is too big.

Gareth Southgate has switched between Declan Rice and Harry Winks in this holding position — but for me it is still up for grabs ahead of next summer.

Looking outside the current squad, there are not exactly many English defensive midfielders excelling in the Premier League.

But in Leeds’ Kalvin Phillips I see someone who could force his way into Southgate’s reckoning.

The 23-year-old has been outstanding for Marcelo Bielsa’s side and has a number of really good attributes.

I like his positional sense, he’s a very good tackler, and his distribution both long and short is fantastic.

Yes, Phillips has never played in the Premier League.

But I don’t have an issue with that at all — there were plenty of clubs in for him over the summer and he would undoubtedly be playing in the top tier now if Leeds hadn’t done everything to keep hold of him.

And in calling up Mason Mount last October when he was on loan at Derby from Chelsea, Southgate has shown he is not afraid to select a Championship player.

The Three Lions don’t play again until March — if Phillips continues in this current vein of form then I see no reason why he shouldn’t be involved.

I’m not saying he should be brought in as first choice. But in a position which is yet to be locked down, Phillips is well worth having a look at.

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