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Tuesday, 6 February, 2001, 17:09 GMT
Give Phillips his chance
Kevin Phillips
Kevin Phillips: Still waiting for a chance to shine
BBC Sport's John Motson tips Sunderland striker Kevin Phillips for international glory under new England boss Sven Goran Eriksson.

The time has come to give Kevin Phillips a chance in an England shirt.

Over the last couple of years the Sunderland hitman has been lethal in the penalty area, scoring 30 goals last season and proving there is more to his game than goals in 2001.

Phillips won his first England cap against Hungary in April 1999 but has never been given the run out his talent deserves.

There is every chance his boyhood dream could be fulfilled when he becomes an England regular over the next couple of seasons
He possesses lightening pace, works hard, has a tremendous football brain and is the most natural finisher in the British game since Alan Shearer hung up his international boots.

The frontman, who once had the honour of cleaning Shearer's boots at Southampton, even smashed Sunderland's post-war scoring record with 35 goals in his first season on Wearside.

Heskey partner

But Phillips deserved so much more than the fleeting opportunity he had under Keegan.

Indeed, Eriksson would be foolish not to provide him with the platform that his ability deserves.

He has excelled at every level he has played at and I believe he would adapt equally well to the international game.

Kevin Phillips
Phillips: Fantastic finisher
England could do a lot worse than try a combination of Emile Heskey and Phillips for the forthcoming friendly with Spain.

Heskey's ability to hold the ball up would complement Phillips' finishing prowess making them a feared partnership on the international scene.

Admittedly, Robbie Fowler does appear to have found his form recently but is not quite ready to be included in the starting eleven after a number of injury setbacks.

So why not give Phillips the chance he deserves in an England shirt.

It is amazing that only six years ago he was a 10,000 rated right-back playing for Baldock Town
It seems bizarre that his striking talents were not discovered earlier in his career.

It took one of Graham Taylor's legendary scouting escapades to rescue him from the non-league wilderness where he was playing as a right-back.

The Watford boss went to see a number of players including Phillips at Baldock Town and left with a glowing report of a man they called "Super Kev" who was being used as an emergency striker for the non-leaguers.

The rest of his career has been like a fairytale, featuring spectacular goals galore, the miraculous recovery from a career-threatening injury and an England debut.

And there is every chance his boyhood dream could be fulfilled if he becomes an England regular over the next couple of seasons.

John Motson was speaking to BBC Sport Online's Peter Sanderson

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