Gabby Agbonlahor has admitted he was disappointed with Kalvin Phillips’ display for England compared to his performances for Leeds United.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-England and Aston Villa striker claimed the United star man was always looking to play it “safe” for the Three Lions whereas at Leeds he is much more progressive.
Phillips’ display in England’s 2-0 win over in Albania on Sunday drew criticism from fans on social media for his “shocking” display.
The midfielder was handed his sixth cap against Albania after starting England’s 5-0 win over San Marino on Thursday night.
Asked for his assessment of Phillips’ England displays, Agbonlahor told Football Insider correspondent Connor Whitley: “I thought he did OK but I thought he played a lot of backward passes.
“When I was watching the game [against Albania], I didn’t think he and Declan Rice both had to be in there, to be honest.
“When he had the ball he played a lot of backward passes, I think he could’ve played it forward a lot more.
“It was a bit safe, it was always the easy pass. If he was at Leeds he’d be playing more forward passes.
“But he’s still new to international football, he’ll get better with time and I’m sure we’ll see better performances from him.”
Phillips completed 54 of his 58 attempted passes against Albania (93 per cent) but that included just one key pass, according to sofascore.
He was substituted for James Ward-Prowse with just less than 20 minutes to go with England comfortably 2-0 up.