Barcelona legend Xavi Hernández has lavished praise on Leeds talisman Kalvin Phillips after a stellar Euro2020.
Ahead of the tournament, there were question marks surrounding Phillips’ inclusion in the Three Lions squad but the 25-year old proved his doubters wrong as England reached their first final in a major tournament in 55 years.
The Whites midfielder was one of the standout figures for Gareth Southgate’s side and has attracted a huge amount of praise from across the globe.
The latest coming from former Barca and Spain midfielder Xavi. It’s high praise for Phillips – coming from a man who has won just about all there is to win in the professional game.
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Xavi was part of the Spain side that won the World Cup in 2010 and the European Championships in 2008 and 2012. The 41-year-old, who is now manager of Al Sadd in Qatar, believes the current crop of England players can end their trophy drought.
Xavi told The Times: “I’ve seen England at a fantastic level. They have absolutely everything on the squad. Well, actually they were not champions just because of a penalty.
“But this generation is young, physically strong but also great technically. With this group of players, they’ll always be competitive.
“I can see them fighting for the World Cup, without a shadow of a doubt. They are almost there, and I think that sooner rather than later they’ll have this spark of luck you need to win trophies.”
LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 11: Kalvin Phillips of England passes the ball during the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Final between Italy and England at Wembley Stadium on July 11, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
The four-times Champions League winner was left “hugely impressed” by the midfield duo of Phillips and Declan Rice.
Xavi said: “I have also been hugely impressed by the two midfielders, Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips. I did not know them that well, but they were superb.
“You can see a centre back like John Stones and how he plays the ball out from the defence.
“And next to him there’s Maguire, who drives up the ball to split the opponent’s pressing. How the full backs and wing backs behave for the team . . . there are details that speak volumes of Southgate’s work.”