Kalvin Phillips stands on the threshold of joining England greats in Euro 2020 knockout clash with Germany - YEP Comment
Bobby Charlton and Alan Ball. Paul Gascoigne and David Platt. Gascoigne again alongside Paul Ince.
Just some of the household names of English football to have lined up in midfield against Germany in the knockout stages of a major football tournament.
Leeds’s own Kalvin Phillips joins that exclusive number tonight when the current England vintage lock horns once again with their fiercest of football rivals in the last 16 of Euro 2020.
It is an indication of how far Phillips has come, not only in the last 12 months as his boyhood club Leeds United went from Championship winners to established Premier League operators, but in the last two and a half weeks.
Back on Sunday, June 13, Phillips was a curiosity among England fans as the Three Lions began their Euro 2020 journey. Is this relative international novice good enough to hold his own against Europe’s best?
Over the course of three games, accruing more minutes than any other England outfield player, Phillips has emphatically answered those concerns.
Whether it was his probing balls against Croatia or his tenacity against the Czech Republic, tournament football has fitted Phillips like a glove. Was there ever any doubt among Leeds fans?
Now for Germany, the ultimate test for an English footballer.
No rivalry evokes as much feeling of nostalgia or stirs the passion quite like England versus Germany.
How many times have they beaten us and sent us home? Charlton and Ball might have bested them in 1966, but Gazza, Platt and Paul Ince know the bitter taste of defeat to Germany in the ’90s.
Don’t join their number tonight Kalvin. Rise above Ilkay Gundogan and Toni Kroos and help send England into the quarter-finals, and Germany packing.
Rise above them and etch your name into English folklore.