'Vital' - Roy Keane lavishes praise on 'excellent' Leeds United talent

Kalvin Phillips. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)Kalvin Phillips. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
Kalvin Phillips. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
Former Manchester United midfielder Roy Keane has praised Leeds United star Kalvin Phillips for his “excellent” display in England’s 1-0 over Croatia on Sunday afternoon.

The 25-year-old put in a standout performance in the Three Lions’ Euro 2020 opener, controlling the midfield alongside Declan Rice and providing an assist for Raheem Sterling’s winner.

Speaking after the match, Keane was quick to hail Gareth Southgate’s side, as well as highlighting Phillips’ role in the victory.

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"There was talk before the game about maybe taking a draw but l thought it was vital they got a win," the Sky Sports pundit told ITV.

"I thought it was a very good performance by England Very mature, how they managed the game and they mixed their game up well - good short passes then stretching Croatia.

"What they did which was vital was winning the midfield battle. If you win the midfield battle it gives you a foothold to win football matches. Phillips and Rice were excellent. A very good day for England.

"The modern midfielder has to be able to get forward. What l liked about the England goal is that the midfielders saw a bit of space and ran into it. Football can be a simple game.

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"It was a huge goal as well for Sterling when you consider the criticism he has had in the last few months. But he has never let Gareth down.

"When you win a game of football it justifies all your decisions. If they had lost or drawn today, everyone would have been after Gareth. But when you win a game of football, it justifies everything.

"Gareth got it spot-on today."