Danny Murphy has said that Gareth Southgate was right to include Kalvin Phillips in his England squad, despite the Leeds United star having no Premier League experience. 

Murphy also claimed that he’s “seen enough” of Phillips to know he is a player with no weaknesses and said that he expected him to be an England regular in the next 12-18 months.

Murphy was asked what he made of criticism from Jermain Pennant, who said he “shouldn’t be there” after only playing in the Championship.

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Talking on the White & Sawyer Show (talkSPORT, Monday, 11.30am), Murphy said, “Kalvin Phillips has had two tremendous seasons, not just one.

“He plays in a unique position where we’re not blessed with players. So, in this particular set of circumstances, I think it’s the right thing for Gareth to get him in and take a look at him.

“I don’t think Gareth is saying he’s there for good. If he goes into the Premier League and struggles with Leeds he’ll soon be out of the England squad.

“I’m a big believer in earning your stripes but there’s nothing wrong with having a look at him. I like him and I think he’ll adapt really quickly. I don’t think he’ll struggle.

“I’ve seen enough of him to know he’s more than capable and he’s really good at playing that role. He’s got all the tools to be a really good player. There’s no area of weakness in his game and I think he’s got what it takes to be an England regular in the next 12-18 months.”

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Pennant’s criticism was a surprise – he’s a huge Leeds fan but he seems to be completely inflexible around England players being picked from the Championship.

That seems really odd, especially given that the Championship is a lot more competitive than a lot of other European top-flight leagues.

The Aston Villa fans were perhaps the saltiest after the squad was announced after Jack Grealish was left out of the squad, although he’s since been added.

However, there’s lots of competition in the Grealish position, with players like Phil Foden, Raheem Sterling, Mason Mount and Mason Greenwood all able to play in the same attacking midfield spot.

Defensive midfield is different and we really don’t see the problem with taking a look at Phillips before he’s made his Premier League bow.

Rules are there to be broken, especially over a player with the sort of talent that Phillips has got.

 In other Leeds United news, ‘I’m told’ – Graham Smyth delivers intriguing update on Leeds move for Rodrigo de Paul


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