How Leeds United’s Kalvin Phillips turned Wembley moans into cheers Yorkshire News

Raheem Sterling of England celebrates with Kalvin Phillips. (Photo: Carl Recine – Pool / Getty Images)

It was the noise of people complaining that Kieran Trippier was selected on the real left backs, Tyrone Mings was preferred to Ben White and Connor Coady in central defender, Raheem Sterling was chosen when Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho were not. they were, and probably most of them. All around, Kalvin Phillips was cast on a team that Jack Grealish and Jude Bellingham were made to watch from the sidelines.

Disagreeing with the team England football coach chooses has been a national obsession since time immemorial and Gareth Southgate understands that more than most, not because he’s bad at it, but because the depth of talent at his disposal means that many good players have to be left on the bench at this point.

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In England’s first game of the 2020 European Championship, he emphatically played his cards correctly.

England’s Kalvin Phillips faces Croatians Ante Rebic (left) and Marcelo Brozovic. Photo: Nick Potts / PA Wire.

Aside from his individual picks, another suit to beat Southgate with is that he’s too conservative. With such a plethora of style on their fingers, many fans would probably be quite happy if it were all Ossie Ardilles and packed as many attacking players onto the field as possible. But of all the many coaches who choose England teams, only Southgate has to live with the consequences.

The 4-2-3-1 with which he opened the tournament yesterday had to do with balance, and Leeds United’s Phillips was instrumental in that.

If there were reservations in the noisy stands, the appreciative applause for the Leeds-born player suggested they were quickly forgotten.

Even while warming up, it felt right at home, the stadium DJ playing Endor’s Pump it up – a Leeds anthem. England wore white shorts for the complete Leeds look.

Kalvin Phillips of England fights for possession with Josko Gvardiol of Croatia. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths / Getty Images)

Playing between midfielder Declan Rice and the ridiculously talented “three-quarter line” of Phil Foden, Mason Mount and Sterling, Phillips epitomized the confidence that his rather inexperienced side, the second-youngest in the tournament, exuded at the start.

Foden had already thrown a shot in the fifth minute to the post when Phillips forced a save from Dominik Livakovic, calmly waiting for a corner to fall in midair for him to volley, rather than snatch it away like a 25-year-old would have. . He never played international soccer around this time last year, and as would the more experienced players on both sides.

A couple of minutes later he was dropping the ball nicely, dismissing the two men around him and finding a safe pass to a white jersey to applause of appreciation.

There was a well-measured pass for Kyle Walker and another for Foden, highlights selected by Southgate and a standing ovation when he dispossessed Josko Gvardiol.

He sometimes got ahead, something he is not asked to do often for Leeds, winning a free throw, waiting alongside Foden for a Sterling cross and even being called offside.

As England’s early dominance cooled off, Leeds fans saw more familiar things, lifting the ball deep and spraying it, Walker and Foden fed from the right-back slot as the former advanced, the latter in.

Although Croatia started the second half with their best spell of the game, Phillips was able to get back on the front foot, chasing an excellent ball down the line and brilliantly finding Sterling to open the scoring shortly before the hour.

“It was a great pass weight,” said the recipient admiringly.

He then returned to a more defensive role, as England maintained their 1-0 lead in a way that they couldn’t when the teams last met in a major tournament, in the 2018 World Cup semi-final.

In the end there was a bit of everything.

“He brings a lot of energy to the team,” Sterling said. “He’s up front and he’s always in the face of rival midfielders, but at the same time he uses the ball well.”

“He’s a very good footballer,” Southgate said.

No one will complain if Phillips is on Friday’s team sheet against Scotland. After that performance, the only groans will be if he isn’t.

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This notice was published: 2021-06-13 22:16:23

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