England manager Gareth Southgate has reportedly made a surprising decision to leave Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson on the bench and start Kalvin Phillips in England’s opening Euro 2024 qualifier against Italy.
The decision is not without controversy, as Henderson has been a consistent performer for both Liverpool and England over the past few years. However, Southgate has opted to go with Phillips, who has played just 13 times for Manchester City this season, in a move that has raised eyebrows.
It is worth noting that Henderson has not been in the best of form this season, but he has still been a regular fixture in Liverpool’s starting lineup.
He also started in England’s last three games of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. This suggests that he is still an important player for Southgate and England.
Kalvin Phillips set to START tonight! Who would you like to see start later tonight v Italy? 🤔pic.twitter.com/xeZ8i7AdgW— Fantasy5 (@Fantasy5Jackpot) March 23, 2023
Phillips, on the other hand, has had a slow start to the season at Manchester City since his £42m transfer from Leeds United.
He has only played 344 minutes in all competitions this season, which makes Southgate’s decision even more surprising.
🏴| Kalvin Phillips devrait être titulaire ce soir contre l’Italie.— Manchestericonic™🇫🇷 (@MCRiconicFR) March 23, 2023
The decision to start Phillips over Henderson is a bold move, especially given the difficulty of the game against Italy. Italy is one of the top teams in Europe and is expected to provide a stern test for England.
It is a game that Southgate will undoubtedly want to win, given the importance of securing qualification for Euro 2024.
It remains to be seen whether Southgate’s decision will pay off. Henderson’s leadership and experience could prove to be crucial in a