‘How on EARTH can England play Kalvin Phillips in a major tournament?’: Chris Sutton labels the Man City midfielder ‘a risk too big’ as he clashes with Ian Ladyman over England Euros XIs on Mail Sport’s It’s All Kicking Off

  • Ian Ladyman and Chris Sutton were asked to present their best XIs for England
  • Sutton couldn’t believe Ladyman’s inclusion of Kalvin Phillips in the midfield 
  • Chris Sutton is stunned by Ian Ladyman’s England Euro XI: It’s All Kicking Off

Playing Kalvin Phillips for England at a major tournament would be a ‘risk’ after his lack of game time, argues Chris Sutton in the latest episode of It’s All Kicking Off. 

Sutton and Ian Ladyman were challenged to present their starting XIs for the 2024 European Championships

Among the flashpoints was Ladyman’s decision to include Phillips despite the fact he has played just 16 Premier League games for Manchester City since joining in July 2022. 

The two debated how cautious the midfield selection should be and whether John Stones and Trent Alexander-Arnold should slot in, as well as disagreeing over including Harry Maguire‘s inclusion. 

Ladyman opted for a 4-2-3-1 formation with Declan Rice and Phillips as holding midfielders while Sutton went for a 4-3-3, releasing Jude Bellingham and James Maddison

Ian Ladyman thinks Kalvin Phillips should play for England because they need two holding midfielders

Chris Sutton would sacrifice a holding midfielder and play James Maddison higher up with Jude Bellingham

Chris Sutton would sacrifice a holding midfielder and play James Maddison higher up with Jude Bellingham

Ian Ladyman and Chris Sutton’s XIs 

Ian Ladyman’s XI: Jordan Pickford, Kyle Walker, John Stones, Harry Maguire, Ben Chilwell; Declan Rice, Kalvin Phillips; Bukayo Saka, Jude Bellingham, Phil Foden; Harry Kane

Chris Sutton’s XI: Jordan Pickford, Kyle Walker, John Stones, Lewis Dunk, Luke Shaw; Declan Rice, Jude Bellingham, James Maddison; Bukayo Saka, Phil Foden, Harry Kane

Sutton said: ‘I do not, in any way, shape or form, understand this continued argument for Kalvin Phillips. 

‘Nothing against Calvin Phillips, but how on earth can England go into a major tournament and play somebody who is very unlikely to play for Manchester City, or certainly will not play regular football?

‘England will want to go into a tournament and win a tournament with a guy who hasn’t kicked a ball in the best part of two seasons. That is a risk too big to take for Gareth. 

Ladyman argued that Gareth Southgate has stuck by the former Leeds man consistently, but Sutton felt he might pay the price for loyalty.

He added: ‘He still hasn’t won a major tournament. So is that the tweak which he needs to make? So loyalty is a great strength, Ian, but loyalty can also be a great weakness.’

Mail Sport’s Football Editor Ladyman believes that England need two holding midfielders to accommodate their attacking players while retaining solidity. 

He said: ‘I think I’m probably with the minority on this one, whether I’m with the England manager or not. I think in terms of public mood, I’m in the minority. 

Jordan Henderson 'shouldn't be anywhere near the England starting 11', argued Sutton

Jordan Henderson ‘shouldn’t be anywhere near the England starting 11’, argued Sutton

Sutton believes Gareth Southgate's loyalty could hold England back and he excluded Harry Maguire from his XI, unlike Ladyman

Sutton believes Gareth Southgate’s loyalty could hold England back and he excluded Harry Maguire from his XI, unlike Ladyman

‘I’m not sure that England are secure enough without the ball to cope without the security of two sitting players. 

‘Ideally, it would be Rice and somebody else, someone who’s playing regularly for the club. But in the absence of that individual, if we accept that Henderson is maybe on the downward curve of his career now, then until there’s a better candidate than Phillips, then I think it’s Phillips.’

Ladyman pointed out that a revolutionised Stones could play in midfield, but that England would then be losing their ‘best centre-half’.

Sutton felt that if Jordan Henderson is excluded, surely you can level the same argument against Phillips – and added that ‘both players shouldn’t be anywhere near the England starting 11’.


It’s All Kicking Off is an exciting new podcast from Mail Sport that promises a different take on Premier League football.

It is available on MailOnline, Mail+, YouTube, Apple Music and Spotify.

Source From: Premier League News, Fixtures and Results | Mail Online

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