You’ve done nothing yet! Kalvin Phillips reveals England’s assistant manager Steve Holland gave players a sobering comedown after win over Wales… in an effort to keep the Three Lions grounded ahead of last-16 clash with Senegal
England’s jubilant players were given a sobering warning straight after the 3-0 thumping of Wales, with assistant boss Steve Holland telling them they have achieved nothing yet.
The clinical second-half performance at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium on Tuesday night meant England finished top of Group B with seven points — their best haul at a World Cup since 2006.
But midfielder Kalvin Phillips revealed Holland had been quick to stop expectations running away. The Manchester City midfielder said: ‘It’s hard sometimes to stay calm, but we have a good group, good coaching staff who will always keep us grounded — especially Steve Holland.
England will play Senegal in the last-16 following their impressive 3-0 victory over Wales
Steve Holland immediately gave players a sobering comedown following the win on Tuesday
‘We won’t get too high about it. We are happy about the result but we are just going to rest up and focus on the next one.’
The defeat of Wales has lifted spirits and manager Gareth Southgate rewarded his squad with a day off on Wednesday. Preparations for the last-16 tie against Senegal on Sunday evening will be stepped up on Thursday at their Al Wakrah base.
The mood of optimism was particularly evident in Phil Foden, who admitted the fuss over his non-selection for England’s first two World Cup games had put pressure on him before the Wales game.
‘I try not to read too much into it,’ said Foden of the debate about his role. ‘But I felt a bit of pressure going into the Wales game because everyone was pushing for me to play. I just tried to remember that I’m putting on an England shirt and to play my normal game.
Holland (left) warned players that they had accomplished nothing yet after topping Group B
Kalvin Phillips said it’s hard to stay calm but England’s coaches keep them grounded
‘We spoke as a group about how important it was to win and make sure we won the group and be confident going into the next game. The camp is on a real high at the moment.
‘There is no easy game in the World Cup. You could see that in our group with how good the USA were and how Iran were able to beat Wales. But we could hear the England fans singing all game. They drove us on. It was a special game to play in and something I will never forget.’
For all Foden’s joy, he could be back on the sidelines on Sunday, with Southgate warning players to brace themselves for disappointment.
Raheem Sterling, Mason Mount and Bukayo Saka — who all started the team’s first two matches — were left out against Wales and their replacements Marcus Rashford, Foden and Jordan Henderson impressed.
Marcus Rashford (right) will hold talks with Man United over a new deal after the World Cup
Sterling is still viewed as one of England’s most important players and, asked how he had taken the news he was being benched against the Welsh, Southgate said: ‘He’s had two starts and he is playing at big clubs where you know that you don’t necessarily start every game. They do understand that.
‘Of course players are disappointed not to start games. But we have got an incredible spirit among the group. They get on with it and, of course, they have got to be ready for when their moment comes.’
Rashford, meanwhile, will hold talks with Manchester United over a new contract when he returns from the World Cup. United are confident of tying him down to a long-term deal.