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Barcelona legend Xavi heaps praise on England midfielders Phillips and Rice

Barcelona legend Xavi has spoken positively about two England midfielders - Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips.

The Spanish legend is seen as one of the greatest central midfielders of all time.

Xavi, who is now Al-Sadd head coach, admitted his admiration for Phillips and Rice based on their Three Lions performances at Euro 2020.

The duo helped England to the final of the tournament, which they lost on penalties to Italy.

Xavi told The Times: "I've seen England at a fantastic level. They have absolutely everything on the squad. Well, actually they were not champions just because of a penalty.

"But this generation is young, physically strong but also great technically. With this group of players, they'll always be competitive.

"I can see them fighting for the World Cup, without a shadow of a doubt. They are almost there, and I think that sooner rather than later they'll have this spark of luck you need to win trophies."

Xavi said: "I have also been hugely impressed by the two midfielders, Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips. I did not know them that well, but they were superb.

"You can see a centre back like John Stones and how he plays the ball out from the defence.

"And next to him there's Maguire, who drives up the ball to split the opponent's pressing. How the full backs and wing backs behave for the team, there are details that speak volumes of [manager Gareth] Southgate's work."

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