Ian Darke: England missed Kalvin Phillips in 1-1 draw v Hungary
England were held to a 1-1 draw by Hungary on Tuesday evening and the absence of Leeds United ace Kalvin Phillips was largely telling.
The midfielder, 25, withdrew from the squad for this month’s World Cup qualifiers due to a knock, and while the Three Lions strolled to a comfortable victory against Andorra at the weekend, they struggled against Hungary.
With Phillips unavailable for selection, Gareth Southgate opted to pick Phil Foden and Mason Mount playing alongside Declan Rice in the middle of the park.
It did not quite work out as the influence of the Leeds star was hugely missing.
England did not tick with Phillips out, and ESPN and BT Sport commentator Ian Darke was one of the many people that pointed it out.
Darke posted on his personal Twitter account after the game, saying: “Bolder tactical approach is to be applauded – but England are missing Kalvin Phillips in there alongside Rice.
“Look a bit open.”
Bolder tactical approach is to be applauded – but England ARE missing Kalvin Phillips in there alongside Rice. Look a bit open.
— Ian Darke (@IanDarke) October 12, 2021
Despite their attacking wealth, England needed someone to do the job alongside Rice in midfield, and they were unable to get things done as a result of Phillips’ absence.
He started all the games during the European Championships, and it is now clear to see why.
Not many rated the Leeds star despite the fact he is a starter for England, but yesterday’s game showed the critics how influential he is to the side’s style of play.
Phillips deserves all the hype he has gotten so far, and Southgate will be hoping he is available for next month’s qualifiers.
His box-to-box qualities have made him a very important figure in the Three Lions starting XI, and he is now as crucial to his country as he is to Leeds.
The bigwigs are keen on him for a reason, and Marcelo Bielsa deserves loads of credit for helping to turn the midfielder into an influential force to reckon with.
In other Leeds United news, a talkSPORT host has mooted move to club with owners worth £320bn for Whites ace.