God bless Gareth Southgate.
The England manager has been true to his word when picking his England squads, ensuring that players don’t necessarily need to be playing at the so-called ‘big’ or ‘fashionable’ clubs to be given a chance at international level.
Had he followed the blueprint of many England managers before him, then we may not have ever got the chance to see Leeds United’s Kalvin Phillips wearing the Three Lions.
That would be a travesty, because the midfielder has been one of the stars of the European Championship this summer.
He’s been so good that it won’t be too long before the vultures come circling, and Dimitar Berbatov has tipped him to shine at one club in particular.
“He’s been one of the players of the tournament and, sooner or later, I expect him to leave Leeds for a bigger club,” he wrote in his Betfair column, cited by talkSPORT.
“Offers will come in for him after tournament. He is playing with maturity, agility, knowing when to run with the ball and when to pass.
“I would like to see him sign for Manchester United.”
Whether he does end up leaving Marcelo Bielsa’s swashbuckling Leeds side for pastures new is a matter for him alone.
He will have his head turned, of that there is no doubt. However, it’s been proven he can get all the recognition he needs even if he stays put so, for once, the playing field has levelled out.
That, perhaps more than anything else, will be Southgate’s legacy as England manager.