Sore heads worth it as Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips proves vital cog for England and makes Whites history

Sore head? It was so worth it.

Thursday, 8th July 2021, 11:13 am
Updated Thursday, 8th July 2021, 11:14 am

England are in a major international tournament final for the first time in 55 years and Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips has been integral to the Three Lions getting there.

Given where Phillips and Leeds have come from, it would have been an incredible achievement had the Yorkshire Pirlo merely been part of Gareth Southgate's squad at Euro 2020, an unused sub perhaps.

Yet Phillips has played all but 25 minutes of England's six games at this summer's European Championships and probably would have been ever-present but for being booked in the last 16 clash against Germany.

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PARTY TIME: For England's fans at Wembley after Wednesday night's victory against Denmark in the Euro 2020 semi-final in which Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips excelled. Photo by Justin Tallis - Pool/Getty Images.
PARTY TIME: For England's fans at Wembley after Wednesday night's victory against Denmark in the Euro 2020 semi-final in which Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips excelled. Photo by Justin Tallis - Pool/Getty Images.

That left the 25-year-old walking a disciplinary tightrope in the quarter-final against Ukraine and Southgate sensibly took Phillips off in the 65th minute with the Three Lions 4-0 up and cruising against a rather flaky Ukraine.

Denmark proved they were made of rather sterner stuff in Wednesday night's semi-final but England got there in the end and a certain lad from Armley proved one of the most important players on the pitch in coming through 120 minutes.

That's now 545 minutes of football for Phillips at this summer's Euros, excluding injury time, with one last hurdle left to go.

Phillips has already made history in becoming the first ever Leeds player to book a place at a European Championships final and the first to make a major international tournament final since Jack Charlton at the 1966 World Cup.

Now it's about sealing the same brilliant conclusion as back then but let's enjoy this moment first.

Soak it up, drink it in and get ready to go again in three days' time.

England v Italy in the European Championships final at Wembley featuring Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips.

Not just featuring, starring.

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Thank you Laura Collins