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Kevin Phillip is ready to make Premiership defenders pay for his nightmare summer.
Phillips did not get a kick for England at Euro 2000 - despite being the top-flight's leading scorer with 30 League goals.

Now Phillips is chasing the England No 9 shirt vacated by Alan Shearer and no one will get in his way as he bids to reach the World Cup finals.

Phillips said: "I was disappointed in the summer not to get a run-out but it was a great experience for me. My main priority now is to start the season well for Sunderland.

"With the France friendly in September and then the World Cup qualifier with Germany straight after, I need to be playing well for Sunderland to be part of that.

"I know I have to do the business with Sunderland but I've also got to have the World Cup in my mind. That's got to be the tournament where, hopefully, I'll be starting."

A repeat of that when the new campaign gets underway would underline his growing claims on the Newcastle man's England jersey.

But Phillips is not getting carried away. He said: "It's not impossible but it will be very hard.

"If I get 30 goals again, it would be fantastic but I'm not going to say that I'll definitely get it. I'll set my 20-goal target as I do every season."

The standards Phillips has set himself since his £650,000 move to the Stadium of Light have been breathtaking and he admits living up to them is a real challenge.

He added: "It's going to be tough. But thankfully, I've managed to do it every season. People at the end of every season say 'Can he do it again?', and I've managed to."

Phillips will be joined at the Stadium of Light by £3m Argentine defender JULIO ARCA, 19.

He agreed terms yesterday and the transfer from Argentinos Juniors will be completed when he gets an Italian passport, which he qualifies for through his grandparents.

Black Cats boss Peter Reid said: "I spotted him playing in an Argentina Under-21 game when I thought he was the best player on the pitch and have been watching him since.

"The lad is a defender but he can play in a few different positions and he looks a really good player."
 
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