One particular England feat highlights stunning progress of Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips - David Prutton

AS a professional, Leeds United’s Kalvin Phillips will be disappointed with the outcome of England’s Euro 2020 Championships.

Monday, 19th July 2021, 4:45 am

But it’s a tough one because it makes you wonder how you quantify stuff like this.

We saw a lot of emotion around England at the Euros, both positively and negatively and maybe my thoughts reflect the type of career that I had or whatever it was in terms of how you break it up.

In my head, I look at it with a detachment as I played football at a certain level but I was absolutely miles away from anything that Kalvin has done.

Sign up to our Leeds United newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

TACKLING THE BEST: Leeds United's England international midfielder Kalvin Phillips in the Euro 2020 final against Italy, pictured in combat with Ciro Immobile. Photo by Carl Recine - Pool/Getty Images.

That maybe puts things into perspective as you can then look at what has been achieved and think that is or was amazing.

But what separates people that have the ability to first and foremost perform like that and then win stuff is probably that ability not to look back on and say we gave it a good crack.

If you look at the top sports people, they are absolutely ruthless, they get things done, they get jobs done and they perform under pressure.

But, if you are trying to look at what happened in a broader sense of perhaps a cultural landmark moment off the back of what the world has been through and what each and every one of us have been through in the last 18 months, then I think England were a joy to watch.

There was a partisan way of looking at it where you are supporting your team against other teams which brings a lot of hostility.

But, if you take away what happened around the final, there was a lot of good feeling, positivity, warmth and affection for a group of footballers who are very likeable and led by a likeable manager in Gareth Southgate.

If I put my football head on, I can talk about it as an ex-player and, as someone who works in football media, you can break it down and say that changes that were made possibly weren’t forthcoming at the right time.

The choice of penalty takers leaves you scratching your head but that’s the very nature of the job that these men are in.

They make their decisions and we sit there and judge them for it but I’ll never know what it’s like to pick someone to take a penalty in a European Championships final.

I can probably second guess but there was a real sense of togetherness with England accompanied with a joy at watching the side and that was reflected with the smile that you saw from Kalvin after every game.

He also showed wonderful empathy as he was the first lad to go up and see Bukayo Saka and console him after he missed his penalty.

That was just the most genuine and tender moment of a team-mate seeing someone in emotional distress and wanting to solve the problem.

When it comes to problem solving, Kalvin has done a lot of that in his footballing career by helping Leeds to get back to where they are and being an integral part of it.

That has now also been reflected for England.

Yes, there was disappointment that ultimately we didn’t win anything but there’s so much more around it that is so positive and joyous that we can’t lose sight of that.

Only three outfield players from any country played more minutes than Phillips at the Euros.

Those three players were England’s John Stones in addition to Italy duo Jorginho and Leonardo Bonucci who are two of the very best.

Just look at who Phillips is now rubbing shoulders with. Look at what Jorginho has won just this season and look at what Bonucci has won in his career.

This is something for Kalvin to be stunningly proud of and he now comes back to Leeds as a first-choice international for his country and a first choice for his club in one of, if not the, most competitive and glittering divisions on the planet.

His life will have changed with Leeds United going into the Premier League but it has gone into the stratosphere now.

The challenge now for Kalvin is to enjoy what he has done and enjoy how it feels and really kind of soak in these moments but also retain that mettle that has driven him to the top with the help of some very good coaches.

That is the challenge for him now and that comes from me having had a career at a certain level and being able to look back on a career with perspective.

I saw something off the American Office where one of the characters said I wish someone would have told me that these were the good old days when they were happening, instead of looking back on the good old days.

I really hope that Kalvin gets the sense of how amazing all this is, and that the road in front of him could be even more glorious.

Read More

Read More
Leeds United winger Jordan Stevens on trial at League Two side and makes immedia...

A message from the Editor:

Leeds has a fantastic story to tell - and the Yorkshire Evening Post has been rooted firmly at the heart of telling the stories of our city since 1890.

We believe in ourselves and hope you believe in us too. We need your support to help ensure we can continue to be at the heart of life in Leeds.

Subscribe to our website and enjoy unlimited access to local news and information online and on our app.

With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content.

Click here to subscribe.

For more details on our newspaper subscription offers click here.

Thank you Laura Collins