'He's going to be big' - former Leeds United fan favourite holds no surprise at Kalvin Phillips' England exploits

Kalvin Phillips' England exploits at the Euros hold no shock for former Leeds United defender Gaetano Berardi.

Tuesday, 29th June 2021, 12:23 pm
Former Leeds United defender Gaetano Berardi. Pic: Getty
Former Leeds United defender Gaetano Berardi. Pic: Getty

The Three Lions man has made his presence felt at this summer's European Championships, playing every minute so far under head coach Gareth Southgate

Phillips is again expected to start this evening at Wembley against Germany in a highly-anticipated Round of 16 clash in the capital.

England face their old foe in the first round of the knockout stages for a spot in the quarter-finals of the competition and will undertake their biggest challenge of the tournament to date.

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Southgate's men are yet to concede a goal but have lacked a cutting edge up front which has caused debate among fans over which attacking options he should opt for.

Phillips, though, has been one of the standout performers for his country so far and should line up alongside West Ham's Declan Rice in midfield once again.

The Yorkshire Pirlo, as he is affectionately known, provided the match-winning pass to Raheem Sterling against Croatia and put in two solid performances against Scotland and the Czech Republic.

"Not really," Berardi told Sky Sports over whether he was surprised at all over Phillips' England showings.

"I was not sure if he would start the games, but it's nice to see him playing games. He did well as well. I think he deserves to be there, he deserves to be in the England team, to play in the Euros. I think it's going to be a big part of the team now and in the future."

Berardi was also quizzed over Phillips' debut for Leeds which came six years ago in 2015, a game he featured in for the Whites.

"I remember the game," Berardi added.

"We lost 4-3. It was a crazy game and of course, we could see from the start that he was a really good player but especially the first experience he had with the club, he was really young.

"[Over] the next years he started to learn, to train hard. He was a good guy then and he's the same guy now. He deserves what he has achieved in the last year and what he is doing now."