Kalvin Phillips suffered a “severe dead leg” in England’s 1-1 Nations League draw with Germany on Tuesday evening and is a doubt for the weekend visit of Italy.
The Leeds midfielder was forced off to be replaced by Jude Bellingham, the teenage midfielder a household name in Germany with Borussia Dortmund. The injury inadvertently caused controversy in Munich, as the home fans were incensed when Jamal Musiala looped the ball over Jordan Pickford and into the back of the net, only for the goal to be ruled out as Phillips was down clutching his leg.
“It’s not ideal in any way shape or form to lose a really important player after 15, 20 minutes,” said Gareth Southgate, whose side face Italy at Molineux on Saturday before hosting Hungary at the same ground next Tuesday. “Hopefully it’s not too bad. It’s quite a severe dead leg. It’s hard to know how long that will be.”
Southgate has meanwhile challenged Jack Grealish to earn a starting spot in the side. Grealish helped change the momentum of the contest after he replaced Mason Mount with just 18 minutes remaining.
Half of Grealish’s 22 England caps have come as a substitute and he has only finished 90 minutes three times for his country. Asked if he sees the Manchester City man as an impact player or a starter, Southgate replied: “I think he can be both. If we didn’t trust him we wouldn’t put him on the pitch with 20 minutes to go in the belief he can make a difference.
“The start of the game, the challenge to the wide players to attack, defend, try to score goals at a high tactical level and you’ve got to be spot on. I think that’s an area Jack can get better at and what he did do was carry the ball and at that moment of the game as it opens up there’s a little more space, a little more opportunity, and also that freshness.
“The impact that he and Jarrod Bowen had was really important in those attacking areas. There is a good challenge there, good competition for places and we’ve got to keep pushing them.”