Kalvin Phillips backs Steve Holland to keep England grounded in knockout stages

Kalvin Phillips and England assistant manager Steve Holland (Nick Potts/PA) (PA Archive)
Kalvin Phillips and England assistant manager Steve Holland (Nick Potts/PA) (PA Archive)

Kalvin Phillips has revealed England assistant Steve Holland will make sure the players stay grounded heading into the World Cup knockout stages.

The Manchester City midfielder came off the bench to tee up Marcus Rashford for his second goal in a 3-0 win over Wales on Tuesday night which saw England top Group B.

Gareth Southgate and his staff will spend the next couple of days studying tapes of round-of-16 opponents Senegal – “it is how we get our kicks,” joked the England boss.

Sunday’s clash at Al Bayt Stadium will see expectation levels rise but Senegal are no pushovers, having won the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time in their history earlier this year.

The England squad certainly are not taking progression for granted, as Phillips explained when asked if it is difficult to remain calm at this stage.

“It’s hard sometimes but we have a good group, good coaching staff, good managers who will always keep us grounded – especially Steve Holland,” he said.

“We won’t get too high about it, we’ll be happy about the result but we’re just going to rest up and focus on the next one.

“After a win like this against a team like Wales, everyone’s going to be over the moon but it’s just important for us to keep our heads down, keep working hard and focus on the next game.”

Phillips was a mainstay in the England side that reached the final of Euro 2020 last summer, only to lose to Italy on penalties.

However, having been called up by Southgate after recently recovering from shoulder surgery, Phillips is likely to play a more peripheral role in Qatar.

That is also down to the form of Jude Bellingham, the 19-year-old impressing so far for England.

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“I knew a few years ago that Jude would be a major part of this England team, with the way he’s performed not just for England but for Borussia Dortmund,” he said.

“He’s an amazing talent, he’s one of those kids that doesn’t say too much but just goes out on the training pitch and is only going to become a better and better player.

“We have got an amazing strength in depth and I think obviously with the players that we’ve got there are times when you miss out and not play as much.

“But when you’ve got people like Jack (Grealish) coming off the bench and getting those chances and Marcus who can play anywhere across the front three we’ve just got a lot of options.

“There are so many people to pick out who have talent. We see it as a positive for England.”