England team news: Kalvin Phillips to start ahead of Jordan Henderson
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England team news: Kalvin Phillips to start ahead of Jordan Henderson

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson will reportedly start England’s match tonight against Italy on the bench, with Gareth Southgate set to bring Kalvin Phillips into the starting XI.

According to the Telegraph, the Manchester City man, who has made zero Premier League starts this season, will be selected to start in Naples later this evening ahead of Henderson, with England kicking off their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign with their hardest fixture of the group against Italy.

The decision will come as a surprise to many, particularly Liverpool supporters, given just how little Phillips has played for City this season since moving to the Manchester giants from Leeds United last summer in a £42m transfer.

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Phillips has made just 13 appearances in all competitions for Pep Guardiola’s side, playing just 344 minutes in the process. Yet that seemingly won’t stop Southgate from starting the midfielder against Italy, with Henderson set to start the match for England on the bench.

Indeed, although Henderson hasn’t been in great form for Liverpool this season, the Anfield skipper has been an ever-presence for Jurgen Klopp’s side this campaign, with the midfielder also starting in England’s last three games of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Which is why the decision to start Phillips over Henderson is such a strange one, especially given the difficulty tonight’s fixture for England against Italy will pose for Southgate, with this game easily the hardest the Three Lions boss will have to face in qualifying for Euro 2024.

Henderson should be starting for England against Italy

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England will want to get off to winning ways this week when they face Italy in Naples, and although there’s some logic as to why Phillips would start in the midfield, Southgate is really missing a trick not including Henderson in the starting XI.

The Liverpool man impressed greatly for England at the World Cup out in Qatar, and with Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham expected to start, Henderson would compliment the Three Lions duo in the midfield more efficiently than Phillips, who isn’t even match fit for a fixture of this magnitude.

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