'Incredible' - John Stones compares Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips to Italy legend Andrea Pirlo but vows 'Yorkshire Pirlo' nickname action
Manchester City's John Stones has played against Andrea Pirlo - and is thrilled to have Leeds United's 'Yorkshire Pirlo' as a team mate in the England midfield.
Stones was just 19 when facing Italian legend Pirlo during a friendly for Everton against Juventus in San Francisco back in 2012.
Nine years later, Stones is set to face the nation with whom Pirlo used to star for in Sunday's Euro 2020 final between Italy and England at Wembley.
But the Pirlo links even extend into the England team given that Leeds midfielder Philips has been given the nickname of the Yorkshire Pirlo in reference to the former Juventus star.
It is a nickname that makes City star Stones smile and the 27-year-old vowed to have words with Phillips and "get on him" after being informed about what Leeds fans were calling the 25-year-old United midfielder.
Stones, though, on a serious note, says that Phillips is an "incredible" player in his own right who has made everybody associated with him proud.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference on Friday ahead of Sunday's final against Italy, Stones was asked how the Yorkshire Pirlo and the real Pirlo compared and smiled: "They are two different players.
"I have had the opportunity obviously to play with Kalvin and I believe he is his own player and has his own qualities.
"It's funny that he has been labelled the Yorkshire Pirlo - I'll get on him after this.
"But he's an incredible player and to see him come through and perform the way he has during this tournament, his first major tournament, I couldn't be happier for him.
"He's done himself so proud and obviously everyone back home."
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Thank you Laura Collins