Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips hailed as best player on pitch after setting up England winner in Euros opener

LEEDS United midfielder Kalvin Phillips excelled from an advanced role and set up the winner as England began their bid for Euros glory with victory against Croatia at Wembley.

Sunday, 13th June 2021, 3:57 pm
Updated Sunday, 13th June 2021, 3:58 pm

Phillips became the first Leeds player to start a Three Lions game at a major international tournament since Danny Mills and Rio Ferdinand started for Sven Goran-Eriksson's side in the quarter-finals defeat to Brazil of the 2002 World Cup in South Korea and Japan.

The 25-year-old Whites star lined up alongside West Ham's Declan Rice in the middle of the park but played in a more advanced position than Rice who took up the holding role that Phillips is usually deployed in for his club.

Phillips excelled in the first half and produced the only shot on target of the opening 45 minutes as his volley from a cleared corner was saved.

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The Yorkshire Pirlo completed all 18 of his attempted passes as the only player with a 100 per cent passing success rate.

His second half display began in the same vein and Phillips then superbly set up Raheem Sterling's winner in the 57th minute.

The Whites midfielder darted into the final third and beat his man before threading a perfect through ball for Sterling who thumped his effort into the back of the net.

Phillips was regularly hailed as the best player on the pitch during BBC's commentary by pundit Jermaine Jenas and the Whites midfielder played the full duration of the game as boss Gareth Southgate instead took off first Phil Foden and then Harry Kane.

HELPING HAND: Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips, left, celebrates with goal scorer Raheem Sterling, right, after setting up the England opener. Photo by GLYN KIRK/POOL/AFP via Getty Images.

Marcus Rashford replaced Foden before 17-year-old Jude Bellingham came on for Kane.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin then replaced Sterling in the second minute of added time as the assist from Phillips ensured the Three Lions began Euro 2020 with a bang.

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Thank you Laura Collins