Jose Mourinho wants Leeds United ace Kalvin Phillips to start for England on Sunday

Jose Mourinho claims Leeds United star Kalvin Phillips should start for England on Sunday when they start their Euro 2020 campaign against Croatia at Wembley.

Phillips, 25, has been an ever-present for Leeds since Marcelo Bielsa arrived in West Yorkshire in 2018.

In that time, he’s been transformed from a bang-average, underachieving attacking midfielder in the Championship to a fully-fledged England international.

Speaking on talkSPORT today (Friday), Roma manager Mourinho picked his starting line-up for England’s opening match and said that Phillips should be in there alongside Declan Rice in the middle of the park.

“In midfield, there is a player that I love but maybe I wouldn’t play him in the first game, which is [Jude] Bellingham,” Mourinho told talkSPORT, as quoted by LeedsLive.

“I think he has fantastic potential. To play with [Declan] Rice, I would say Bellingham is perfect but maybe, this first game, maybe Kalvin Phillips with Rice.

“Maybe. In here, I’d have doubts because Bellingham is the perfect second midfielder to play with a guy like Rice.”

TalkSPORT shared Mourinho’s team on their Twitter account.

Mourinho knows

Mourinho thinks Phillips should start, Gareth Southgate probably thinks Phillips should start and Leeds fans who watch him play every week think he should start too.

But Darren from Gloucestershire or Bill from Durham will have you think otherwise, claiming that Phillips is out of his depth at this level.

We’re sick to the back teeth of hearing from England fans how Phillips isn’t good enough. He quite obviously is.

Mourinho is someone whose opinion has to be taken into account and even though it looks on paper as though there are two holding midfielders in that side, there really isn’t.

Leeds fans know all about Phillips’ strengths and while he’s great at winning possession back, he’s also superb at picking out long-range passes.

And then you have Rice, who’s also decent out of possession but he’s also very good with the ball at his feet, dribbling it up the pitch.

In Phillips and Rice, England have two central midfielders who have both defensive and attacking qualities that can be utilised by Southgate.

In other Leeds United news, the Whites want to open talks over signing this player after he had a stunning season on loan.