Leeds United star Kalvin Phillips played a full 90 minutes for England as they were frustrated with a draw away to Poland.
The final game of the international break for the Three Lions was the toughest test, with a trip to Poland the third fixture of the week.
Gareth Southgate reverted back to his strongest lineup, and in that was Kalvin Phillips alongside Declan Rice in holding midfield.
In what was an intense physical battle, the Leeds man suffered an early setback when referee Daniel Siebert brandished a yellow card for trodding on Tymoteusz Puchacz’s foot – an incredibly harsh decision.
Despite walking a tightrope throughout, Phillips controlled the base of midfield well with Rice even in a game that wasn’t one of his (or England’s) finest.
His decision not to slip Harry Kane through on goal in the first half after stealing possession didn’t go down too well but overall it was another steady outing in tricky circumstances, as Poland seemed hell-bent on conning him into a red card.
While critics aren’t hard to come by, there was plenty of praise thrown his way, especially for the best pass of the match:
There were clearly areas for Phillips to improve on in that game but to slate him for one error in his passing is baffling.
The attack were anonymous aside from one long-range strike from Kane, and it wasn’t as if Rice and Phillips weren’t feeding the ball forward.
There are always going to be harsh critics but the fact Phillips made 12 ball recoveries while on a yellow for 83 minutes shows how outstanding his defensive game is.
There aren’t many holding midfielders in the Premier League as good as him right now.