Photo by NICK POTTS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Leeds United’s Kalvin Phillips and West Ham midfielder Declan Rice defended Reece James on Instagram after he was sent off for England during their 1-0 defeat to Denmark on Wednesday.

Many felt that the Chelsea academy product produced a Man of the Match display, words echoed by the likes of Phillips and Rice, but it was his sending off after the final whistle which perhaps put a dampener on things.

Rice wrote to James underneath the comments section: ‘Be proud of the way you played brother’. Whilst Phillips added: ‘Head up brother a performance to be proud of’.

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All three players started the match, but given that Harry Maguire was sent off in the first half, it made life difficult for the home side.

It didn’t help when Christian Eriksen scored a penalty straight after but the performances from the likes of Phillips and James over the international fixtures was strong.

Perhaps where they need to be helped out is by their manager – Gareth Southgate – allowing them to play in a more fluid system.

Photo by NICK POTTS/AFP via Getty Images

Given that there are so many defensive-minded players in the team, it shows on the pitch because it looks like England are playing with the handbrakes on.

But all in all, for someone like Phillips and James, who are new to the international stage, they have imposed themselves very well and Rice now has much-needed competition in that holding area.

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