Jermaine Pennant has argued that Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips “shouldn’t be in” the England squad. 

The Elland Road favourite was given his first nod at international level by Gareth Southgate earlier this week, and could feature in the UEFA Nations League clashes against Iceland and Denmark next month.

But former Whites winger Pennant has argued that the 24-year-old does not deserve to be named in the Three Lions’ contingent because he doesn’t have any top flight experience under his belt.

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Speaking on talkSPORT about Southgate’s selection, 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.

“He shouldn’t be in there.”

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This is ridiculous from Pennant.

To deny a player the opportunity to play for England purely because he doesn’t play in the Premier League is ludicrous.

What’s next, ruling out Jadon Sancho because the Bundesliga isn’t of the same standard as the English top flight?

Southgate isn’t handing out caps for fun – if he thinks Phillips deserves a spot, he thinks he deserves a spot. It really is that simple.

Even if we’re hyper-cynical about this and claim that the boss has only given the Leeds man the nod so that he doesn’t opt to play for Jamaica instead, that still shows that Southgate believes he is capable of being an England regular at some point.

Hopefully, given a few weeks in the Premier League, Phillips will be able to make Pennant eat his words.

Even now though, before he has touched a ball in the top flight, this feels like a bad take.

In other Leeds United news, the Whites are considering this Premier League goalkeeper with senior exit on the cards

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