Ian Wright responds to Gareth Southgate’s bizarre claim that England are struggling to replace Kalvin Phillips as he names one star who could easily slot in next to Declan Rice

  • Ian Wright dismissed Gareth Southgate’s claim regarding Kalvin Phillips 
  • Southgate claimed England don’t have a natural replacement for the midfielder 
  • LISTEN to It’s All Kicking Off! Why are England already being briefed on ignoring the noise from outside the camp? 

Ian Wright has dismissed Gareth Southgate’s claim that England don’t have a natural replacement for Kalvin Phillips.

England’s unbalanced midfield was again a major issue during the 1-1 draw with Denmark.

After the game, Southgate bizarrely claimed that England are finding it difficult to replace Phillips, whose last appearance for his country came in November 2023.

However, Wright believes that there is one player in Southgate’s squad who would be able to perform effectively alongside Declan Rice in midfield.

Wright has called upon Southgate to make alterations to his side ahead of England’s final group game against Serbia.  

Ian Wright dismissed Gareth Southgate’s claim England don’t have a replacement for Kalvin Phillips

Southgate expressed his belief that England have found it difficult to replace Phillips

Southgate expressed his belief that England have found it difficult to replace Phillips

Wright believes that Crystal Palace midfielder Adam Wharton should come in to the England midfield.

Wharton concluded the campaign impressively with Palace after joining from Blackburn in February.

The midfielder, 20, was subsequently named in the England squad and made his international debut during the pre-tournament friendly against Bosnia earlier this month.

Wharton hasn’t featured in England’s opening two group games against Serbia and Denmark but Wright believes that now is the time for him to be called upon.

Wright also added that Manchester United starlet Kobbie Mainoo is another option for Southgate to consider.  

Speaking on ITV Sport, Wright said: ‘It’s either Kobbie (Mainoo) or Wharton, but I’d probably put Wharton in there simply because he’s the closest I’ve seen to Fabian Ruiz.

‘When I’ve seen him in the last few games for Palace at the end of the season, his calmness. He’s calm, he’s got a pass.  

‘He’s a very intelligent player and he’s somebody that wouldn’t panic in this situation. He’s been picked in the squad. 

Wright believes that Adam Wharton could be a useful option for England in midfield

Wright believes that Adam Wharton could be a useful option for England in midfield

Southgate stated that England are still looking for a replacement for Phillips

Southgate stated that England are still looking for a replacement for Phillips

‘Listening to Gareth, he mentioned about Kalvin Phillips and he’s the only one in the country who can play that role, I don’t believe that. 

‘I believe Adam Wharton can play it. I think Kobbie Mainoo can play it as well. You’ve picked them. Now we’re in a situation where it’s not desperation because we’ve got four points, but we’re in a place where we need something different, we need to change something.’ 

Asked about Trent Alexander-Arnold’s performance in midfield after mainly playing at right-back for Liverpool, Wright 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.’

Phillips has 31 caps for England and played every minute as Southgate’s side reached the final of Euro 2020.

However, he fell out of favour after barely playing for Manchester City and then struggling while on loan at West Ham. 

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