'Behind Raheem Sterling arguably England’s best player' - Three Lions legend on Leeds United's Euro 2020 star Kalvin Phillips
Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips has established himself as a 'world star' at Euro 2020 in the eyes of England legend Stuart Pearce.
The 78-times capped Three Lions defender was impressed with what Phillips did with his club in his first ever season of Premier League football, but what he produced for England this summer en route to the final of a major tournament was even better.
Pearce, who reached a pair of semi-finals with England only to suffer the same penalty shoot-out heartache experienced by Phillips at Wembley against Italy, put the Leeds man behind only one other of Gareth Southgate's players when it came to impressive tournaments.
“Phillips has been unbelievable," he said.
"Behind [Raheem] Sterling arguably he’s been England’s best player.
"His energy levels have been absolutely phenomenal. He’s had a brilliant season for Leeds and taken that and gone up a couple of notches performance wise."
Phillips' displays, starting with his breakout performance against Croatia in the advanced midfield role he occupied throughout the tournament, belied his inexperience at international level for Pearce. The Euro 2020 final was just his 15th cap, having made his debut back in September before ever playing Premier League football.
Nailing down a place in Southgate's team in such impressive fashion has warranted the attention he has received and the plaudits from world-class midfielders past and present.
“I’ve not seen him have a bad game yet," said Pearce.
"He plays with a maturity way above his years and he’s come – like we see at major tournaments – with a late run into the team and established himself as a real world star that people are looking at."