Paul Robinson: Leeds United star Kalvin Phillips to improve with England
We’re delighted to welcome former England goalkeeper Paul Robinson as our exclusive columnist. Each week he’ll be giving his views on the biggest talking points at Leeds United
Paul Robinson predicts Kalvin Phillips will return to Leeds United a better player than the one that left to join up with the England squad this summer.
It has been confirmed that Phillips, 25, will represent the Three Lions at the European Championships this summer after a stunning couple of seasons for Marcelo Bielsa at Leeds.
He has plenty of competition to earn a spot in Gareth Southgate’s midfield but there’s no doubt in Robinson’s mind that the experience of playing in a tournament will be of huge benefit for the Leeds midfield star.
“We’ve fallen foul over not being able to play tournament football over the years,” Robinson told MOT Leeds News.
“Other countries like Germany have sometimes not had the strongest of teams but they win because they know how to play tournament football.
“They’ve been away together, in the hotel, been a part of the squad, been together for four to six weeks or however long it may be. It’s a different experience to training with the lads every day and then going home to your family.
“It’s a completely different mentality that brings you on as a person and as a player.
“Kalvin Phillips has done extremely well this year, as we know.
“If you look at his journey over the last three or four years, especially while Bielsa has been there, he wasn’t even a regular starter or a defensive midfielder.
“The development of him personally and as a player has been an incredible rise.”
There were some concerns about whether or not Phillips would be fit to play for England in the summer after suffering a shoulder injury against West Brom last month.
After a poor challenge by himself, Phillips left the Elland Road pitch in agony and holding his shoulder – an area of his body he’s previously had issues with.
But fortunately, he’s fit to play for the Three Lions this summer and we expect to see him start at least once in the group stages.
England have a decent group where they’ll take on Croatia, Scotland and the Czech Republic.
If qualification is wrapped up before the Czech Republic match, we could see Phillips start with Southgate resting Declan Rice, who may start ahead of the Leeds man.
In other Leeds United news, the Whites want to sign this 35-cap international more than any other club this summer.