England got off to a winning start in their Euro 2020 campaign, as they narrowly beat Croatia 1-0 at Wembley Stadium.
Gareth Southgate opted to start two defensive midfielders for the game, with Leeds United’s Kalvin Phillips partnering West Ham’s Declan Rice.
There was some criticism on Southgate’s decision to opt for a more defensive line-up, but his bold call paid off, as Phillips put in an impressive performance at both ends of the pitch, in his first start for England at a major tournament.
Phillips played a key role in the only goal of the game, as his well-weighted through ball found Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling, who fired home the winner on Sunday afternoon.
The Leeds midfielder has caught the eye with a number of strong performances for Marcelo Bielsa’s side this season, and the Leeds boss is likely to be delighted to see Phillips going from strength to strength heading into the summer.
The 25-year-old made 30 appearances for Leeds in the 2020/21 season, as the Yorkshire-based side finished ninth in the Premier League, in what was their first season back in the top flight.
Phillips’ former Leeds United team-mate Alex Mowatt took to Twitter to react to his performance against Croatia, and it’s safe to say that he was impressed with him.
— AlexMowatt (@alex_mowatt) June 13, 2021
Mowatt departed Leeds on a permanent basis back in 2017, and is now playing his football for Barnsley, who will be hoping they can build on a hugely impressive campaign last term.
Does Elland Road have a higher or lower capacity than these 18 grounds?
The Elland Road faithful will absolutely love this.
Mowatt showed glimpses of his quality whilst with Leeds United earlier in his career, but he left in search of regular game time elsewhere, which resulted in the short move to Barnsley in 2017.
Phillips really impressed me in England’s opener, and it’s great to see him getting the plaudits that are coming his way, as he’s shown his quality with Leeds for a number of seasons now.
It’ll be interesting to see if he’s a regular for the rest of the tournament moving forwards.