Liverpool's unlikely hero now has England's 2022 World Cup to consider


Opinion: Nat Phillips now has England and the World Cup to consider

Nat Phillips may want to work England into his future plans. The 24-year-old has a lot to consider this summer.

Nat Phillips is in the midst of the biggest transfer window of his career. We have no real idea what he should do.

What seems clear, though, is that his future remains in his hands. Journalist James Peace claims Liverpool will let Phillips decide what he wants to do.

“The players love him as well, because he surpassed everyone’s expectations last season,” Pearce told the 1892 podcast. “I think Nat Phillips knows that having had a taste of it, he’s probably going to be going back to being fourth or fifth choice. And does he want that at this stage of his career?

“If he does, then I think Klopp will be absolutely delighted to keep hold of him. If he doesn’t, Klopp will understand and if the right offer comes in, he’ll let him go.”

It’s something the Liverpool Echo’s Paul Gorst has mentioned before.

“There’s no desire from Klopp to sell him, so it’s basically down to the player himself and if interest arises,” said Gorst.

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It’s a tough one for Phillips. He’s got a place at Liverpool right now – a Champions League club and one of the favourites to win major trophies next season.

Phillips knows he’s good enough to make their XI and play for them. It’ll be tough to give that up.

His problem is that he’s currently about fifth choice. Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Joel Matip and Ibrahima Konate are all above him in the pecking order. Phillips will only like play if there’s an injury crisis – but that did happen last season.

It’s just not a reliable or realistic outcome. No one should base their career purely on an injury crisis happening again. Phillips could almost certainly get a good starting role at another Premier League club.

And for us, there’s another factor consider – England.

Nat Phillips for England?

The World Cup happens at the end of 2022 and Phillips might just have a thought of making that squad. It does seem outlandish, of course, but so did playing a starting XI role with Liverpool as they qualify for the Champions League.

Phillips knows he can make the impossible happen and the England squad really isn’t that impossible. Having watched him over last season, he looks good enough.

Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

In fact, England’s deep-lying, defensive strategy suits Phillips to a tee. He’ll clear that ball for 90 minutes to see out a win. Gareth Southgate might love him.

And centre-back isn’t the strongest area of the squad, either. It’s not littered with Champions League players beyond the starters. Phillips, with another good season, could force his way in.

But he has to pick the right move and it’s not clear what that is. He’d be a near-certainty for the squad if he got regular games with Liverpool but how likely is that?

Whereas it’s harder for a player to get into the team at, say, Burnley, but Phillips would get far more opportunities to impress.

We think Phillips can pull this off, though. Pick correctly and he’ll be in the plans come winter 2022. And at 24, this will likely be his only opportunity.

It’s not one anyone thought possible a year ago but with everything since, we think Phillips has a chance.

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