Aylesbury football star Phillips snubs Three Lions for Tartan Army

England youth footballer Matt Phillips, from Aylesbury, has welcomed a Scotland call-up
England youth footballer Matt Phillips, from Aylesbury, has welcomed a Scotland call-up

AYLESBURY-BORN footballer Matt Phillips has been controversially called up to represent Scotland despite playing for England at a number of youth levels.

Phillips, who plays for Championship side Blackpool, qualifies to play for Scotland through his grandparents.

He has been called into the squad to face Slovenia in an international friendly next Wednesday.

It comes just four months after Phillips went to South America to represent England at the Under 20 World Cup.

The former Grange pupil is still eligible to represent the country of his birth even if he features against Slovenia as it is not a competitive fixture. But his inclusion seems to indicate the promising youngster’s national inclination after it emerged that his family were involved in discussions prior to the call-up.

Phillips’ Blackpool boss Ian Holloway this week blasted the English FA for failing to make the in-form forward an England player.

“I have been in the game a long time and seen an awful lot of players, and I think Matt is good enough to be an England international.

“Unfortunately, he hasn’t been noticed, possibly because he isn’t at Arsenal, Chelsea or one of those clubs.

“It is great news if you are Scottish, but not quite such good news if you are English.”

Phillips was this week given the Football League’s young player of the month award for January after a scintillating start to 2012 which has seen him score seven goals in nine games.

Phillips’s scoring touch has unsurprisingly coincided with his side’s 10-match unbeaten league run, during which the Seasiders have climbed to within two places of the automatic promotion spots.

Holloway believes Phillips has been overlooked for England at under 21 level, despite having caught the eye with his displays in the Championship this season.

“I mean, what more did Matt need to do to get in the Under-21s at least?

“He wasn’t getting picked and I feel a bit irked.

“My country, I believe, has now lost one of the best players it has ever had.

“He is going to Scotland. I don’t blame Matt at all for that.”

Phillips is one of seven English-born players to feature in the Scotland squad.