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Kalvin Phillips believes ‘sky’s the limit’ as he chases England Euro 2020 spot

England v Poland – FIFA World Cup 2022 – European Qualifying – Group I – Wembley Stadium
(Image credit: Catherine Ivill)

Kalvin Phillips believes the “sky is the limit” for him as he targets a place in England’s Euro 2020 squad.

The Leeds midfielder started all three games across the March international break having been capped for the first time earlier this season.

He will now be pushing for involvement in the summer when the rearranged European Championship finals role around.

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As things stand, Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate will have to whittle his squad down to 23 names for the tournament.

The continued fitness concern of Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson could yet lead to Phillips being assured of a place in Southgate’s ranks – but the 25-year-old is taking nothing for granted.

“I’m very happy with playing the last three games but I always know there’s room for improvement,” he said. “I’m happy just to be playing for England, never mind if I was sat on the bench. I’d be happy as well.

“I want to be playing games and Gareth’s seen that and has seen that I’m capable of playing in different positions in midfield, which is a good thing as well.

Kalvin Phillips started all three games for England in March

Kalvin Phillips started all three games for England in March (Adrian Dennis/PA)

“I’m looking forward to the next camp. Whether I’ll be in it, whether I’ll not, I’m not too sure but the sky’s the limit for me and I think if I keep working hard then why not?

“From the start of the season, I never really thought I would be in this position. But whenever I have had the chance, I have just tried to do my best and work my hardest.

“The manager has seen that and he’s had the confidence to play me in the last three games. I’m very grateful for that and I will always try and do my best when I am on the pitch.”

Phillips and Leeds were still playing in the Sky Bet Championship when England reached the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

His life was different back then and he now harbours ambitions of being involved in another famous international summer three years on.

“The last World Cup I’d just moved into my first house without my mum there and I had a few of my mates around every game to watch the games,” he said.

“It was just one of them things – it was in the summer, it was warm, you just love watching international football and to be here playing and to have my friends and family messaging me saying ‘I can’t believe you’re playing for England and doing all this stuff’ it’s surreal.

“Like I said before, I feel like I have to pinch myself sometimes.

England manger Gareth Southgate has shown his faith in Kalvin Phillips

England manger Gareth Southgate has shown his faith in Kalvin Phillips (Nick Potts/PA)

“But it’s one of them things, you’ve got to keep working hard and I’ll keep doing that.”

It remains to be seen if Phillips will make the cut – but Southgate spoke glowingly of the Leeds academy product following Wednesday’s 2-1 World Cup qualifying win over Poland.

“We’re really pleased with what Kalvin has done,” he said.

“We were going to pick him last March when he was in the Championship. He came in in August before he had played in the Premier League.

“Kalvin has been a great addition to the group. Super boy, great humility, very, very good player.

“Marcelo (Bielsa) has done an excellent job in developing him as an individual but he has a lot of good qualities that are of his and his family’s making and I know they’ll be very proud.”

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