Lee Dixon responds after Leeds fans take umbrage at Kalvin Phillips claim

Date published: Wednesday 13th October 2021 10:02 - James Marshment

Lee Dixon has responded after seemingly suggesting Gareth Southgate’s England side were stronger without Kalvin Phillips in the line-up.

England remain on course for World Cup qualification despite stumbling to a 1-1 draw on a night against Hungary. The travelling side were once again let down by some of their fans at Wembley.

Southgate’s undefeated side remain on track to win Group I with only next month’s matches against Albania and San Marino remaining on the road to Qatar.

But an exciting-looking England side struggled against Hungary. John Stones cancelled out Roland Sallai’s penalty in a tepid 1-1 draw under the Wembley arch.

Southgate, in the absence of the injured Phillips, opted to play a 4-3-3. Phil Foden and Mason Mount started either side of Declan Rice. And up front, Harry Kane was flanked by Jack Grealish and Raheem Sterling.

Southgate admitted after the game that he was disappointed with England’s display and blamed the “collective”.

However, according to Dixon, England fans were getting what they wanted before kick-off. He claimed England were finally “playing their strongest 11”.

But with injured England Player of the Year Phillips missing out, many Leeds fans took umbrage with Dixon’s claim.

One Leeds supporter, Nick, writing on Twitter stated: “Interesting Lee Dixon’s comment about England best 11, I would argue Kalvin Phillips sits in that 11 all day long! I could just be a biased Leeds fan!”

That prompted Dixon to issue a one-word reply to the tweet, by stating: “Available”.

Whether that represents a back-track by Dixon or whether he genuinely meant he considers England better without Phillips, only he will know.

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Leeds told they face Raphinha battle

Former Premier League striker Kevin Phillips, meanwhile, fears Leeds may struggle to keep hold of Raphinha after his stock continued to rise after a tremendous Brazil outing.

Despite the club beginning the season indifferently, Raphinha has starred throughout and is gaining stardom.

The Brazilian has scored three goals in seven games in the Premier League. That form earned him a call up to the Brazil squad.

The winger starred in his second Brazil appearance, making two assists in just 45 minutes against Venezuela. His stunning form has not gone unnoticed, with Brazil stalwart Thiago Silva heaping praise on the 24-year-old.

Additionally, Kevin Phillips feels that after Raphinha’s key performances for club and country, Leeds have themselves a gem.

“His stock is rising, big time. To perform like that for Brazil, it doesn’t really get any better,” he said.

“We know the impact he has had on the Premier League. He has been amazing. But, to do it for Brazil is just brilliant. It puts his stock even higher.”

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