Midfielder Kalvin Phillips believes the Italian midfield duo of Jorginho and Marco Verratti will be Englandâ€™s biggest test in Sundayâ€™s European Championship final, but the team has what it takes to nullify their threat.
â€œIâ€™ve played against Jorginho,â€ Leeds Unitedâ€™s Phillips was quoted as saying by The Guardian on Friday. â€œAn amazing player, especially for Chelsea. A player who is very good on the ball, using his body to get away from people.
â€œThere are going to be a lot of different challenges that Italy is going to cause us.
â€œVerratti is an amazing player as well. Iâ€™ve always admired him. With their two midfielders, itâ€™s as difficult as it gets. We know itâ€™s going to be a tough game. To come up against those two midfielders is going to be hardest test weâ€™ve had.â€
Phillips and fellow defensive midfielder Declan Rice have excelled in the tournament, providing defensive cover in front of the backline, but have shown they can push forward when needed and provide penetrative passes.
It is no surprise that manager Gareth Southgate has kept his faith in the pairing.
â€œGareth is very â€˜usâ€™ orientated,â€ Phillips said. â€œHe knows what Italy is going to be like, how theyâ€™re going to play, but heâ€™s orientated on how we will play, how we can affect them.â€
Phillips said forming a close friendship with Rice had also helped the duo get the best out of each other.
â€œHeâ€™s an amazing lad,â€ Phillips said. â€œWhen I first came in I didnâ€™t really know anybody and he was one of the first to say hello to me. Ever since we met we have always been pals.
â€œI knew he played in my position, so I knew I was competing against him. Over time I have played a little bit higher up. We have to work together. Me and Declan do that very well.â€