Leeds United fans have taken to Twitter to rally around Kalvin Phillips following Jermaine Pennant’s criticism of his England call-up.
The 24-year-old Elland Road favourite was given his first acknowledgement at senior international level earlier in the week when Gareth Southgate included him in his squad for the Three Lions’ upcoming UEFA Nations League clashes against Iceland and Denmark.
But the decision was not a popular one with ex-Whites winger Pennant.
Speaking on talkSPORT, he said: “I’m taking out Kalvin Phillips.
“The reason being there’s a big difference between the Championship and the Premier League and there’s a big difference again between the Premier league and international football.
“You can’t pick someone for your national team based on a season in the Championship, that’s just my personal opinion.”
Naturally, that opinion didn’t go over well with Leeds fans, or with The Athletic journalist Phil Hay for that matter.
Writing on his own Twitter account, the trusted reporter said: “Jeez, this whole ‘he’s been playing in the Championship’ thing is so reductive.
“It’s hardly like Southgate randomly stuck a pin in a map.
“He’s been watching Phillips for two years”.
Supporters then backed Hay by jumping to Phillips’ defence, and rightly so.
The midfielder has been superlative in recent seasons, and to rule him out of the international setup because he isn’t playing at the highest level is elitist and blinkered.
By that measure, you could argue that any player playing in a European top flight that isn’t at the same level as the Premier League should also be dropped from the setup.
It’s ridiculous, quite frankly.
Nobody seemed to bat an eyelid when Mason Mount was called up during his loan spell with Derby County, and in a lot of ways Phillips’ inclusion makes more sense right now.
The player also qualifies to play for Jamaica, and giving him a senior cap would secure his future with the English national side.
Even taking that into account, this is not some kind of philanthropic gesture from Southgate.
He clearly believes that Phillips can be an England international – whether that be right now or further down the line.
Given a choice between Pennant’s opinion and the opinion of a man who guided his country to a World Cup semi-final, we know who we’re trusting.
Here are some of the best tweets from disgruntled Leeds fans:
It’s taken me until Bielsa to realise that for the most part, football pundits don’t have a clue what they’re talking about. They’re as informed as your mate down the pub.
— Tom Yeadon (@Yeadon1) August 30, 2020
Poor argument. We don't hear that when players get signed for huge fees from smaller leagues. Good scouting can see beyond the level of opposition a player has faced
— Tomi Oladipo 🏆 (@Tomi_Oladipo) August 30, 2020
Exactly, it’s an insult to Southgate if anything.
— LUFC Lewis (@LewisDeighton17) August 30, 2020
The Grealish/Winks/Phillips argument from Pennant and O'Hara is just sensationalist at best. KP and HW are both playing in a position where we lack depth unlike in Grealish's position where we have numerous better quality options.Southgate has to get the right balance in midfield
— Craig Patrick (@craig83patrick) August 30, 2020
Imagine been told how to do your job by Pennant!
— Ron (@ronaallleeds) August 30, 2020
Embarrassing comment from a person thats never done anything at international level, at that "top" level dallas has more goals than him… funny
— C 🏆 💙💛 (@scotttownend2) August 30, 2020
Most of these players who are pundits base all there knowledge on super Sunday. Out of touch with most of the leagues.
— Josh 💙💛 (@superleedsmacca) August 30, 2020
So many bitter pundits/fans out there. If he wasn’t from Leeds it wouldn’t be such an issue. They all love to hate us don’t they
— Nick Messenger (@Touc) August 30, 2020
Coming from a player who never got picked for the seniors…. Salty 😁
— mark standridge (@stanimal1963) August 30, 2020
Diabolical pundits – bleating about how unfair it is on Grealish when he plays a completely different role/position 🤦🏼♂️
— Nathan Chapman (@NathanChaps90) August 30, 2020
In other Leeds United news, the Whites are considering this Premier League goalkeeper with senior exit on the cards.
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