Leeds United fans knew about Kalvin Phillips, now everyone else does too - David Prutton

KALVIN Phillips was fantastic for England in Sunday's Euros opener against Croatia.

Monday, 14th June 2021, 3:24 pm

He was composed and quite obviously knew his role within what boss Gareth Southgate wanted him to do.

Phillips looked unfazed and he is not a young man that we have seen necessarily look stressed when it comes to the questions that have been asked of him and it was exactly the same again.

He played a very important role in the game and the outcome of the game and this is a very proud and respectful moment that he has managed to show in an England shirt.

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BOSSING IT: Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips takes on all comers as the Whites star excels on his major international tournament debut for England against Croatia. Photo by FRANK AUGSTEIN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images.

There was much discussion over whether it would be Declan Rice or Phillips starting or a mixture of both and what we saw from a dovetailing point of view fills you with a lot of hope going forward in the tournament.

We may only be one game in but Phillips was composed and assured.

Every single Leeds fan knows what Phillips is about and he showed what perhaps other people hadn't known about him.

In the grand scheme of what Phillips is capable of, it just reflected all the good things that Leeds fans have known about him since he was getting in and out of the team in the Championship and what he has subsequently done since coming to the Premier League.

Now he has asserted himself and announced himself on this particular stage in a major international tournament and other than scoring a goal he couldn't really have done much more.

It will have been a proud moment for him and his family and for people associated with Leeds and it's the perfect way to start the tournament really.

There is expectation and there are all the critics who know absolutely everything about football but have never put a pair of boots on that are ready to pass judgement.

But England came through it with flying colours.

With regards to what happens now with Gareth Southgate's team selection, this is where the approach of Gareth will be tested.

Jordan Henderson has only just come back from injury and was on the bench and if you look at what Jordan has done internationally and domestically, his achievements far outweigh what Kalvin Phillips and Declan Rice have done in football.

It's there in black and white.

Henderson is a Premier League and Champions League winner and what he has done as a captain has been phenomenal for both club and country so there is going to be a major dilemma.

But the very nature of tournament football is very finite and it's here and now.

I am sure Gareth will have his loyalties and he will understand the part that Jordan has played and will play in the years to come.

But tournament football is all about there here and now and if Kalvin is playing well and that is spurring the rest of his team on and he is kept very honest by the fact that Jordan Henderson is chomping at the bit and that gets another gear out of Kalvin then it's happy days all round.

It's the very nature of a team sport and you would feel for Jordan if he is kept out because he has had the race to get fit and the timing of an injury and what he has done for Liverpool both on and off the pitch.

Even going back to lockdown, due to his leadership skills he was a phenomenal totem of what a leader of a major internationally renowned football club should be.

But a tournament is about players in form who are fit and ready to go.

All Kalvin could do was perform as well as possible to be in discussion for that next game and he has certainly done that. He was fantastic.

I for one would start him but the wonderful thing is that it has got nothing to do with us even though we could say 'I would pick this and that.'

If you come away from the partisan nature of a football team you look at that England squad and think 'I like this lot'.

Let's not get too carried away and let's not get too pessimistic if the next game doesn't go well.

But as much as we talk about teams like Portugal and France and Italy, the grand old dames of what European and world football is, I think you have got to be very quietly confident as an English fan.

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Thank you Laura Collins