Neville slams England line-up; Daily Star’s disparaging remarks on Phillips

Kalvin Phillips TEAMtalk

Gary Neville has said England’s unbalanced line-up “was never going to work” after they laboured to a 0-0 draw with Denmark.

England ended the most challenging international camp of Gareth Southgate’s reign with another forgettable display as their Nations League trip to Denmark finished goalless.

As if the coronavirus measures, fitness concerns and Harry Maguire’s withdrawal were not enough for the Three Lions boss to contend with, Southgate sent Mason Greenwood and Phil Foden home on the eve of the Copenhagen clash after breaching the bio bubble.

Southgate certainly has plenty to mull over after their first international break in 10 months, with England failing to score from open play in either of their matches.

Three days on from Raheem Sterling’s penalty sealing an unconvincing win in Iceland, the Three Lions again frustrated with the attackers isolated and midfield lacking creativity in front of a three-man backline featuring debutant Conor Coady.

The 3-4-3 formation needs work and most probably a change of personnel and Neville says the make up of the XI was all wrong.

Neville told Sky Sports: “It was never going to work. Eric Dier, Kieran Trippier, Raheem Sterling, the two in midfield, the balance of that team was never going to deliver wonderful football.

“It was impossible.”

When asked by Jamie Carragher whether left-footed Tyrone Mings would have made a difference in defence, he replied: “It was more than putting in a left-footed centre-back, it was more than that.



“They were immobile up front and the two in midfield had no rotation. Trippier at right wing-back always cutting back on to his left foot.

“It’s no fault of the players or Gareth to be fair because he did not have anyone else to call upon.”

“But as soon as he put Mount off the front and they started to push up the pitch things started to change

‘Kalvin Phillips out of his depth’

Leeds midfielder Phillips made his debut for the Three Lions and he struggled in the first half before finding his feet after half-time.

He was unnecessarily hammered though by the Daily Star, with Jeremy Cross claiming he “was out of his depth”.

It’s unclear what Phillips has done to invoke such criticism on his debut, but Cross has done an assassination job on the ‘Yorkshire Pirlo’.

Cross wrote: “If Carlsberg did footballers out of their depth at this level, he might just be called Kalvin Phillips.

“Here in Copenhagen and the home of one of the world’s most famous beers, England debutant Phillips was left in danger of looking punch drunk.”

He did suggest that Phillips was “likeable” and a decent bloke, but still managed to have a dig at the 24-year-old by stating he “has now made more international appearances than he has in the Premier League”.


Truthfully Phillips was far from his best and was given a 5/10 mark by the broadcaster Sky Sports, but they did note that “…actually finished the first half having made the most tackles and most interceptions of anyone on the pitch”.

He was not alone in playing below-par with Rice, Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling and Jadon Sancho all struggling, but the focus should have surely been placed more on Southgate.

The cautious Three Lions gaffer decided to play two holding midfield players, alongside a left-footed player at right wing-back (Trippier).

That is surely the crux of Tuesday’s problem.

Speaking about Phillips, Carragher said: “As a central midfield player you can’t say I can only play in the middle with two players either side of me.

“I bet growing up as a kid he played in a two. Yes there are slight differences, but I don’t think you can get too carried away.

“When you play for your country, it’s a different manager and a different way of playing.”

READ MORE: Southgate explains defensive selections; Grealish emotional for debut