Kalvin Phillips, who has not started a Premier League game for Manchester City this season due to various injuries since his £42m transfer from Leeds United last summer, is set to start for England against Italy. Despite his lack of game time at club level, Gareth Southgate is willing to trust Phillips in the midfield three, alongside Jude Bellingham and Declan Rice. Southgate is expected to go for a front three of Bukayo Saka, Harry Kane and Jack Grealish, with Grealish getting the nod over his City teammate, Phil Foden.
Injuries have ruled out Marcus Rashford, Mason Mount, Nick Pope and Raheem Sterling for the Euro 2024 qualifier against Italy. Harry Maguire is likely to be chosen as a central defender, along with the possibility of Kyle Walker or Reece James being chosen for the right-back slot. In addition, Ben Chilwell is expected to be given the opportunity to compete with Luke Shaw for the left-back position.
The decision to select Phillips for England despite his lack of club game time has been analyzed by many pundits, with varying opinions on the matter. While some believe that Phillips’ form for Leeds United during their Premier League stint was enough to convince Southgate, others think that the midfielder’s qualities as a deep-lying playmaker and his ability to operate in different midfield roles attributes to his selection.
Southgate has been vocal about the importance of squad depth and versatility, and Phillips’ inclusion in the starting eleven seems to be a testament to that. England’s midfield has been a weak point in recent times, and the inclusion of Phillips could help alleviate some of these issues. The midfielder impressed at Euro 2020, where he played a vital role for England, and his consistent performances for Leeds in the Premier League have certainly caught the eye of the national manager.
Overall, the decision to start Phillips despite his lack of playing time for Manchester City will be closely monitored, as the midfielder is being relied upon to help England overcome a formidable Italy squad. Southgate will hope that Phillips and the rest of the team can put in a confident and effective performance to seal an important victory in their Euro 2024 qualifiers.