'They ate the ground up' - Raheem Sterling hails Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips as England topple Germany
Raheem Sterling hailed the pivotal role played by Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips in England's Euro 2020 knockout victory over Germany.
The Three Lions secured passage into the European Championships quarter-final stage on Tuesday night at a raucous Wembley stadium.
Second half goals from Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane were enough to topple Joachim Löw's side in a tight affair in the capital.
Whites midfielder Phillips - who has played every minute of the tournament so far - was deployed in the centre of the pitch alongside West Ham's Declan Rice as the hosts looked to nullify their counterparts.
Gareth Southgate's tactics worked to good effect as United's academy product provided protection of England s back three whilst helping drive the ball forward.
Sterling - who scored his third goal in four tournament matches for his country - hailed the job done in the middle of the park post-match.
“We knew we needed to put in a very good performance against a very good side and I thought we did that,” the Manchester City winger told the BBC.
“Doing it for your country is always special and it’s definitely a special moment. I wondered if it (my goal) was offside, but I was very happy it went in.
“We knew the intensity we can play at and not many teams can deal with it. The two boys in midfield, Declan [Rice] and [Kalvin] Phillips, they were class, they ate up ground and were animals in there. It was an all round great team performance.
“We’ll take it game by game. We’ll see who we’re playing now. We’ll go away and recover and get focused on the next one.”
Phillips' midfield partner on the night hailed a moment of 'history' made by England in the victory over their old foe.
“It’s history,” Rice told the BBC. “In the press conferences all week the players have been asked about the previous games against Germany and today we created our own piece of history.
“We’ve made the most of our opportunity today and it was a pleasure to be out on the pitch.”
England will now face Ukraine or Sweden in Rome at the Stadio Olimpico on Saturday night.