Ian Wright shuts down bizarre Gareth Southgate claim that England have no Kalvin Phillips replacement

 (The FA via Getty Images)
(The FA via Getty Images)

Ian Wright took aim at Gareth Southgate after he made the bizarre claim that England have struggled to replace Kalvin Phillips in the aftermath of their disappointing and lacklustre 1-1 draw against Denmark at Euro 2024.

Harry Kane had put England ahead in the 18th minute, before Morten Hjulmand scored a 25-yard equaliser after 34 minutes, and then Southgate’s side struggled for fluency.

The England manager made a daring triple substitution, taking off Kane, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Phil Foden, but it failed to inject a new life into the performance, and the team who reached the final in 2021 had to settle for a point.

When asked about Alexander-Arnold, who has been employed as a midfielder for his passing ability, despite playing the majority of his club football as a right back, Southgate said: “He’s had some moments where he has delivered what we thought he would.

“We know it is an experiment and we don’t have a natural replacement for Kalvin Phillips, but we’re trying some different things and at the moment we’re not flowing as we’d like, that’s for sure.”

However, pundit and former England striker Ian Wright has taken against Southgate’s comments about the midfielder who has been out of favour at West Ham, amid a collapse of form.

“Either Kobbie (Mainoo) or (Adam) Wharton,” Wright says are England’s options

“I’d probably put Wharton on. Simply because he’s as close as I’ve seen to Fabian Ruiz, I’ve seen him for Palace at the end of the season, and (what impressed me) was his calmness. He’s calm, he’s got a pass, he’s a very intelligent player and I think he’s somebody who wouldn’t panic in this situation, and he’s been picked in the squad.

“Listening to Gareth (Southgate) I think he mentioned about Kalvin Phillips and he’s the only one in the country who could play that role – I don’t believe that.

“I believe that Adam Wharton can play it, and I believe Kobbie Mainoo could play it as well – and you’ve picked them.

“Now we’re in a situation where it’s not desperation obviously because we’ve got four points, but we’re in a place where we need something different and we need to change something.”