Sky Sports journalists have named their England team to start the first game of Euro 2020 and not one of them has included Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips.

Of the eight reporters asked to put forward their starting 11, seven named Jordan Henderson and Declan Rice in the midfield pivot.

The other used a different formation and selected Henderson as the sole central midfielder – we think this is a farce from Sky Sports.

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What is the thinking behind this? Phillips has been outstanding this season and Henderson has played the majority of the season at centre-back.

Not only that, but the Liverpool captain is injured currently and is not expected to be a big doubt for the Euros, per Sport Bible.

That means he will not be match fit, and certainly less fit than Phillips or Rice, who do a lot of running for their respective clubs.

We support Henderson being in the squad, but the opening match will probably come too soon for him.

England should be looking to keep things tight in the first match too – to lose would be a catastrophe.

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And Southgate has no better option than Phillips, who has been the best defensive midfielder in the league this season.

The £20,000 a week [Daily Mail] Whites star has made 2.4 tackles per game – better than Rice’s 2.1 or Henderson’s one per game [WhoScored], despite the latter playing in defence.

Phillips would also be better foil for the likes of Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling.

Compared to his competitors he has completed 4.4 long balls per game this term – Rice has 2.8 per 90 mins and Henderson three.

Southgate must give Phillips more chances in an England shirt during the current international break.

He will be able to use those games to show exactly how wrong the Sky Sports journalists are.

The 25-year-old also has the remaining Premier League games to stake a claim.

If he maintains the level of performance he showed against Chelsea and Fulham we are sure he will be starting in that first match in June.

In other Leeds United news, a BBC pundit has lavished praise on a Whites star following his international display.


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