MATT Phillips says his early-season struggles at Blackpool were nothing to do with playing a different way with England.
But he admits he probably needed time to readjust to Championship football after the Under-20 World Cup.
Phillips spent most of August in South America as part of an England side which failed to score a goal in the tournament.
When the 20-year-old returned, Pool manager Ian Holloway felt Phillips had lost a bit of his normal buzz and he was sent to Sheffield United on loan after a couple of games for the Seasiders.
If Phillips was lacking form, he has certainly got it back and then some – scoring six goals in six starts for the Bramall Lane club and wowing Blades fans with his pace and skill.
The winger is now back at Bloomfield Road and hoping to continue his remarkable run of form at Middlesbrough ... if selected.
Phillips said: “Playing with England was perhaps more tactical in terms of what I had to do but I’m not going to blame my form on England.
“It was a good experience and a great opportunity. But after being away for a month or so, maybe I needed a bit of time to settle back in and make the transition back to English football and to Blackpool.
“I just settled straight away at Sheffield United. They are a good bunch of lads and the management helped both Billy (Clarke) and I.
“We both got off to a good start against Preston – Phillips scored twice in the 4-2 win at Deepdale – and it went on from there.
“Hopefully I can now show the manager at Blackpool what I can do and continue scoring goals. I feel confident and I’m looking forward to it.”