England manager Gareth Southgate is not getting enough recognition for the job he has done, says midfielder Kalvin Phillips.
England face France in the quarter-finals of the World Cup on Saturday (1900 GMT), with Southgate, 52, having already led the Three Lions to the 2018 semi-finals and Euro 2020 final.
“I think people underestimate the quality of a Gareth Southgate manager,” said Manchester City player Phillips.
“I’ve been with England for three years and he’s been amazing.”
Southgate began his reign as England manager in October 2016, winning 49 games and losing 13 of his 80 games in charge since.
But Croatia’s defeat in the last four of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, followed by another Italy on penalties in the Euro 2020 final, has led to questions about the ability of Southgate to get the most out of their talented team.
Further concerns were raised during a poor Nations League campaign earlier this year, particularly after a humiliating beating at home by Hungary where England fans chanted ‘You don’t know what you’re doing’ to the manager.
England have since recovered to reach the quarter-finals of the World Cup in Qatar, with Southgate being rewarded for his tactical decisions which led to a 3-0 win over Senegal in the round of 16.
Now, his credentials will come under scrutiny again when his side face defending champions France in Doha.
“We haven’t had good results this summer, but you can attribute that to a number of reasons,” said Phillips, who played under Marcelo Bielsa and Pep Guardiola – two internationally renowned managers – at Leeds and Manchester City.
“How he pushed this team to win games and one of the best countries in the world to play football. A lot of people don’t give him credit for that.
“He has very difficult decisions to make. He has incredible players that he has to leave on the bench.
“I understand it’s a very difficult position he’s in, but he’s been amazing since I’ve been with England. He’s an amazing man-manager.”
England’s form can scare France – Mount
One of Southgate’s biggest tasks this weekend is how to negate the threat of in-form France striker Kylian Mbappe.
Mbappe, 23, is the tournament’s top scorer with five goals in four games and has been involved in each of the Blues’ last seven goals in Qatar.
While England will have to give Mbappe a lot of attention, midfielder Mason Mount says that won’t deter England from using their own attacking strength.
“Mbappe is very dangerous. When you play against players like this, maybe you focus on them a bit more than usual because you know what they can do and how they can hurt you,” said the Chelsea player.
“But we are ready for this challenge. We know what we can do and how we have played.
“We need to continue in this form because it can be scary at times if we are at the top of our form and scoring goals. I think scoring 12 goals in the tournament so far is absolutely on point.
“We’re in a good position and confident in the way we’ve been playing. The performances have been top class and now obviously this is our toughest test.”