'I had a mad feeling' - Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips on England nerves and special family Wembley moment
Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips wasn't able to dedicate a Wembley goal to his mum but still celebrated her birthday in perfect fashion.
Lindsay Crosby was among a group of Phillips' family members in the stands to see the midfielder put in a Man of the Match performance against Croatia and set up Raheem Sterling for the only goal of the game.
The 25-year-old had a 'mad' feeling he would hit the net and although he didn't, he was happy to cap his major tournament debut with an assist that led to a memorable family celebration.
His dribble and perfectly weighted left-foot pass left Manchester City man Sterling with just the finish to produce and it proved decisive.
As Phillips ran to join his team-mates in the wake of the goal, he spotted his mum's beaming face. The moments leading up to that remain hazy.
"Just mad, you can't really put it into words," he said on England s Lions Den show.
"It was weird. I had a mad feeling I was going to score. I don't know why, I don't know if it was because my mum was watching in the stadium. I was telling Ben [White] before.
"I came close but if I wasn't going to score, at least I set one up.
"At the time when I was running forward with the ball I can't even remember doing it. I remember Walks [Kyle Walker] passing me the ball, everything else was a blur.
"It was my mum's birthday the day before and when we celebrated she was right at the front on that side. I felt like I was celebrating with her as well."
Producing for his country and giving his mum yet another reason to be proud went some way to repaying her for the effort she put into his enjoyment of major tournaments as a youngster growing up in Armley.
"When I was younger when I lived with my brother and sisters and my mum she would make it extra special," he said.
"We'd get big flags on the windows, once I came home from school and she was up a ladder painting an England flag on the house."
Phillips caught the eye right from the off and his start to the game belied the nerves he felt on the occasion of his ninth England cap and Euro 2020 opener.
"It was a big moment for me," he said.
"I was nervous but as soon as I got a touch of the ball the nerves went out the window.
"After two minutes, the first touch of the ball, the nerves went and I settled into the game.
"I only found out [I Was playing] the day before. It was the morning of the day before. We did some set-piece meetings, Gareth named the team. As soon as you hear your name your heart sinks into your stomach, I had a full day of thinking 'oh no, am I going to mess it up?' Then I was thinking I needed to be ready for anything that comes, lining up against Luka Modric, Mateo Kovacic, it doesn't get any tougher than this."
Sunday was Phillips' first competitive England game in front of fans and the 22,500 in attendance gave him a lift and whetted his appetite for a return to full stadia.
"It's a big boost," he said.
"Especially if we're in England at home, it does help the team. In certain parts of the game when it's difficult, it gave everyone a big boost, and my family was in the stand as well.
"It's a nice feeling to have people back and hopefully we can flood more and more people in."
Phillips and England take on Scotland on Friday at Wembley.