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Kalvin Phillips is fully aware of England’s long-standing rivalry with Germany – but insists he’ll be treating the upcoming clash like any other game.
The two foes will meet in the last-16 at Wembley on Tuesday as another chapter into the rivalry is written.
The England midfielder won’t be getting too bogged down by what’s happened in the past.
However, he’s very aware of the quality the current German side possesses, particularly in midfield.
The 25-year-old Leeds star admitted that Ilkay Gundogan, who plays his club football with Manchester City, is a player who’s impressed him both when watching him on the TV and playing against him.
“It’s just like any other game, for me anyway,” Phillips told talkSPORT. “I know the rivalry between England and Germany and we’ve not had a great record when we’ve played against them but to me it’s just another game. It’s another game to try and win and progress in the tournament.
“We know Germany are a very good team with world class players but we have world class players in our team so it’s going to be a good game and everyone’s looking forward to it.
“I played Gundogan in the Premier League, he had a really good season obviously, when you see him on TV you see how good he is but when you’re stood next to him you can’t believe he’s as good as what he is.
“He’s one of the midfielders whose performances I look at and the same goes for Toni Kroos with his range of passing. They’re very good players.”
The Germans certainly have the upper hand when meeting England at major tournaments. Defeat to Germany on home soil at Euro 96 stinging the most for the Three Lions faithful.
England lost on penalties (of course) with Gareth Southgate’s miss proving to be the decider.
The now-England manager appears to have got over it though as Phillips revealed he jokes about it every now and then.
“It was the first meeting we had when we got to Middlesbrough,” Phillips added. “He 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.”
Phillips is expected to start for England against Germany having impressed alongside Declan Rice in the group stage.
Jack Grealish is also in line for a starting spot after playing a key role in the win over the Czech Republic last time out, and Phillips is a big fan of the Atson Villa playmaker.
“He’s a perfect teammate to play with because he gets you out of so many situations. The quality he’s got on the ball is scary,” Phillips said.
“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.”