England star insists he can fill Kalvin Phillips void

  • Crystal Palace youngster believes he can step up for England
  • Gareth Southgate criticised this week after bemoaning lack of Kalvin Phillips in Euro 2024 squad
  • Three Lions face Slovenia next week aiming to top Group C
Wharton is yet to make an appearance at Euro 2024
Wharton is yet to make an appearance at Euro 2024 / Richard Sellers/Allstar/GettyImages

Adam Wharton says he believes he can effectively step up as an option in England's midfield after Gareth Southgate bemoaned the lack of Kalvin Phillips in his Euro 2024 squad.

The Three Lions left fans frustrated once again on Thursday night with a 1-1 draw against Denmark in Frankfurt. Midfield was a particular area of concern, with both Declan Rice and Trent Alexander-Arnold struggling against the wily Danes.

Southgate said in his post-match interview that England were trying new things to deal with the absence of Phillips, who had a strong Euro 2020 campaign but has struggled massively since joining Manchester City in 2022.

"We know we don't have a natural replacement for Kalvin Phillips," the 53-year-old boldly stated.

Supporters and pundits were quick to criticise Southgate's words, pointing out that there are players available who could perform such a role in England's midfield, with Wharton one such fledgling star.

Wharton joined Crystal Palace from Championship side Blackburn Rovers in February and had a sublime second half of the 2023/24 season with the Eagles which resulted in his surprise call-up for the summer tournament in Germany.

Adam Wharton
Wharton made his England debut during their pre-Euro 2024 friendlies / Richard Sellers/Allstar/GettyImages

The 20-year-old told reporters: "I have got belief that no matter who, where, when I play football that I can affect a game. You have to think like that.

"If I think 'I can't handle this', then what am I doing here [at the European Championship]? The way I look at it now, I believe I can affect any game I play in so I am just making sure I am ready if I am called upon to help.

"You look at the last Euros and Kalvin was one of the best players for England and we got to the final. If there was someone like that playing at this tournament, you'd be saying the same thing I think.

"It's difficult to say because I've not seen too much of him the last couple of seasons, but there's probably similarities in where we play and certain attributes. There's also going to be things he's better than me at and I'm better than him at obviously."

The Three Lions lock horns with Slovenia on Tuesday, aiming for a win to top Group C.