Paul Parker: Too risky to play Harry Maguire but Kalvin Phillips must start against Scotland
After Harry Maguire declared himself fit for England, Paul Parker insists the defender needs to be eased back into action. "There’s no desperation to get him back just because he says he’s fit," Parker said. England play Scotland in their second group game and Parker is convinced Gareth Southgate should opt for continuity and keep Kalvin Phillips in the side.
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There is a risk with someone who has been out as long as Harry Maguire has been. He hasn’t played a competitive game for a while, all he’s done is train.
It’s an ankle injury, it’s a bit like the knee really, it’s a point where you need good movement. Being a centre half, he needs to be able to twist and turn and he isn’t the most agile of defenders at his best. You do worry.
But, I just wonder if Gareth Southgate is wondering if there’s any need to rush him back for the Scotland game? I would say no. Then if they guarantee they’re through against Scotland by getting the win then Southgate might decide maybe to give him more minutes against the Czech Republic. There’s no desperation to get him back just because he says he’s fit.
Tyrone Mings and John Stones did okay against Croatia. They weren’t severely tested but what they did, they did well. It’s an area where we’re not desperate. It’s not like it’s a centre-forward and he missed 10, 15 chances which, say, Harry Kane would have put away. He’s coming back into a position that wasn’t troubled in the last game. He should be given more time really for him to get back. Because of the kind of player he is, he may need more time. The last thing you need is for him to come back and get twisted and turned too much after an ankle injury.
I was quite surprised to see Kieran Trippier start against Croatia. I wonder if Southgate did that because he thought he needed someone more defensive next to Mings. As going forward, we weren’t that strong on that side because balance wise with Raheem Sterling, we were quite poor. We had two players without a natural left foot who were shy of using their that foot and kept stepping inside.
Against Scotland we know it’s going to be an old fashioned game and Southgate might just keep it as it is. Looking at Scotland and how they played in their last game against Czech Republic, their right hand side with Stephen O'Donnell was quite vulnerable. Southgate might decide to play a more natural left-sided player in Ben Chilwell or Luke Shaw, because we know they can get round the back of them.
Last thing Southgate wants to be doing though is making too many changes at this point in time. It’s all well and good having all these players but it doesn’t mean you have to use them just because they’ve all travelled. Continuity is still always key to success. It helps you no matter what the opposition is, I think it’s important not to make too many changes. Just because you’ve got that one win already, don’t suddenly become foolhardy and start playing people because the press or fans are pressuring you to play certain individuals.
Scotland have to show fire in their belly
Andy Robertson of Scotland is seen at full time during the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Group D match between Scotland v Czech Republic
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The form book goes out the window against Scotland. There’s going to be more fight about Scotland in this game, because there wasn’t any in their last match. Maybe a few of them were like rabbits in headlights against the Czech Republic. They had too many players who didn’t show anything, not even fire in their bellies. I think this game will be completely different, because if they’re not showing grit then their fans will let them know.
I think everyone is looking forward to this game. It’s a rare thing these days and it’s more competitive than it was in its heyday. Now, this is a European Championship game, we played them in ’96 and it’s come round again at Euro 2020. I’m looking for a competitive game and although I think England will win, Scotland have to come to the party.
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It would be a big disappointment if we drew against Scotland. We’d go into the game against the Czech Republic with a little bit of doubt. It’s important to remain in control. Win it, a draw isn’t good enough for England to be perfectly honest. If you start thinking about draws and finishing second in the group then you have a problem because you’ll start affecting your players mentally. You want your team to win games and win the Euros but you shouldn’t be concerned about who you’re playing next because whatever happens you have to play a big boy at least in the tournament to achieve anything.
England will want to make a statement. It’s not just about the win, as a player you want the team to play well to give you belief that when you do come up against the big boys, like France or Italy, you’ve got enough confidence and say we can match them. You can’t walk out there and just scrape through. You need confidence in the tunnel when you’re standing side by side with big players.
Phillips must start against Scotland
Kalvin Phillips of England applauds fans after the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Group D match between England and Croatia
Image credit: Getty Images
I got into a team in 1990 and played 15 minutes of competitive international football and after the first game I played in every single match after that. When someone like Kalvin Phillips comes in and everyone thinks he’s there just because he’s done well for his club side and Jordan Henderson will play in front of him, it’s not always the case.
As a manager, I don’t think you can afford to leave Phillips out of the next game and bring in Henderson. He’s gone and done exceptionally well, above everybody else, playing more forward than he does for his club. He has to start, he has to start. His performance justifies him staying in the team. Again I’ll say it, you don’t want to make too many changes.
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Phillips has energy, he gets the ball and passes forward quickly. Henderson is slow and deliberate. He wants to keep things neat and tidy, he doesn’t play those intricate passes through. You can’t be afraid to give the ball away, like Paul Scholes was, and I think Phillips plays that way. Phillips has earned the right to go and play in the next game against Scotland.