KALVIN PHILLIPS is backing Harry Maguire to have the last laugh on any France fans mocking him.
England supporters launched a passionate defence of Maguire after being told that their French counterparts — and even their media — reckon star striker Kylian Mbappe should target the Manchester United centre-half in Saturday’s quarter-final.
Phillips said: “Harry’s not played as much football as he probably would have liked this season and got a lot of stick, which I think is very undeserved.
“He’s a top professional and a great footballer.
“When he plays for Manchester United he’s one of the best defenders.
“For England, he’s been one of the top defenders for a long time, especially at tournaments.
“He’s always been that player when we have set pieces or we need to block or to make a challenge, he’s always the first one to do it.
“He’s always the first one to get his head to the ball. He’s scored some very important goals as well.
“For a lot of people, because he has been mocked quite a lot, he’s the first one they go to.
“If anything bad happened in the England team, he’d be the first person anything would be said about. It’s undeserved.
“If you look at the major tournaments he has played in and how well he has done in them, you can’t really mock him because he’s been unbelievable.”
Phillips also hailed Maguire’s centre-back partnership with John Stones.
The Manchester City midfielder said: “John’s one of the best centre-halves in the world right now.
“The way he plays at City, he’s brought it into this England team. He just seems so comfortable doing that. He’s very composed on the ball. He defends really well.
“Going forward, he’s probably one of the best centre halves you can have distributing the ball.
“And his partnership with Harry’s an amazing one. They understand each other so well. They feed off each other and help each other out.
“As of now it’s been the best centre-half partnership at the World Cup.”
Phillips urged English ex-pats in the Gulf region to take advantage of relaxed immigration rules and come to Qatar.
He said: “You will be one of the many that will eventually make the difference and hopefully play a massive part in history for us.
“I urge you to come out and support us. The support during the group stages has been amazing — especially the Wales game.
“The Senegal game was massive for us — and I don’t want to sound too cliched but the fans were like the 12th man urging us on. They have been amazing.
“Seeing the reactions back home has really given us a lift so hopefully we can keep making them happy, help them party and carry on in this tournament.
“So if you do get the chance and can get a ticket, make it the first thing on your bucket list.”