England midfielder Kalvin Phillips insists fatigue doesn’t play a role
Kalvin Phillips insists no one in the English ranks is suffering from fatigue as the Three Lions drew in their Nations League draw with Italy.
A 0-0 stalemate at Molineux left England bottom of Group A3, having taken just two points from their opening three games and scoring just one goal in that period.
With four Nations League matches to come at the end of a grueling season, many have speculated that fatigue could impact the performance of Gareth Southgate’s side.
But Phillips, who came off the bench on Saturday after being sent off in the recent 1-1 draw in Germany, refuted claims that the team is running out of steam.
Asked if the players were suffering from fatigue, the Leeds midfielder replied: “No, not really.
“I think if you could watch us training every day, watch the way we train, the level of training intensity, you wouldn’t look at us and say we’re tired.
“I also don’t think we looked tired in the games, it’s been a tough group against tough opponents and some teams are going to have more ball possession than we would like.
“But that’s the quality of the teams we’re competing against, we don’t feel tired and I hope we don’t look that way either.”
The only time England have found the back of the net in the current international break was with a late Harry Kane penalty, his 50th international goal, in Munich last week.
Southgate admitted it was ‘concerning’ that his side were so reliant on Kane, as well as Raheem Sterling, to score the goals.
Phillips, however, believes the attacking players at England’s disposal will soon be firing.
“It’s not really a concern (to score a goal in three games) to be fair,” he said.
“The strikers we have, we know they are prolific strikers and we just have to create chances and as long as we keep playing together and trying to create as many chances as possible, the goals are going to come.
“I think Italy created a few times in the first half, but I think we were always the better team in the second half, we didn’t quite create a last chance to score, but Italy are a tough team and I think we played reasonably well.”
Hungary are next for England, still at Molinuex, with the hosts looking to avenge a shock 1-0 defeat in Budapest early in the current fixture streak.
Newly promoted to League A, Hungary were expected to struggle in a tough group but they looked good and held Germany to a 1-1 draw on Sunday night.
Asked if visiting Hungary was a must game to maintain Nations League ambitions, Phillips added: “I think we always want to win every game we play, we’ve seen the result this evening with Germany and Hungary.
“It shows that international football against any team is tough, for Germany to draw against Hungary when we lost to them, it shows it’s a tough competition.
“There are a lot of tough teams and we want to play Hungary in the next game and get the three points and we will focus on that.”