SOCCER

England’s first meeting ahead of Euro 2020 was about penalties reveals Phillips as Germany clash looms

The Leeds midfielder says Gareth Southgate was eager to talk up the importance of spot-kicks from the moment his squad met up

England are set for a reunion with Germany at Euro 2020, and Kalvin Phillips says the Three Lions are ready for more penalty drama having started their pre-tournament preparations with a discussion about spot-kicks.

Past experience, particularly against Germany, dictates Gareth Southgate and his coaching team have to be prepared for the possibility of facing a shootout at another major international tournament.

England’s record from 12 yards is not the best, but they did edge out Colombia en route to the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup and have been working hard to ensure that they are ready for whatever the European Championship throws at them.

What has been said?

Having been paired with Germany in the last-16, Leeds midfielder Phillips told talkSPORT on the prospect of penalties – with England having suffered spot-kick heartache against arch-rivals at the 1990 World Cup and Euro 96: “It was the first meeting we had when we got to Middlesbrough.

“He (Southgate) showed us what he wanted us to do at the camp and how we wanted to progress at the tournament. He mentioned that more or less every team that’s won it have had to go through a stage in the tournament where they’ve had to go to penalties.

“He showed the clips of him taking penalties and other teams before that and us [England] in the World Cup. Obviously he jokes about it now but he’s a manager that takes pride in doing the penalty shootout. He knows it’s massive in certain tournaments and this one especially.

“He’s spoken about it quite a lot and it’s nice to hear the experiences he’s been through. Hopefully, if we do go to penalties, we go one better.”

The bigger picture

Jack Grealish England Euro 2020

Southgate missed a crucial penalty at Wembley in 1996 and will be eager to ensure that none of his current squad endure similar misery 25 years on.

He has plenty of talent at his disposal, with a number of players in England’s ranks that would fancy their chances from the spot. Aston Villa star Jack Grealish would fit into that category, with Phillips loving working alongside one of the Premier League’s top creative influences.

He added: “He’s a perfect team-mate to play with because he gets you out of so many situations. The quality he’s got on the ball is scary, but when I play against him it’s very tough. We didn’t play each other in the season just gone but last time we played each other was in the Championship.

“We were speaking about it the other day, and he was saying how knackered we were after running for just half an hour!

“To play against a quality player like him is very difficult. When he starts to dribble it’s hard to stop him and I’m just glad I’m playing with him at this tournament.”

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