JAMIE REDKNAPP: Comfortable Kalvin Phillips proved the critics wrong and was easily man of the match for England against Croatia… the Leeds midfielder could become the unsung hero of Euro 2020
- Kalvin Phillips provided the assist for Raheem Sterling’s Wembley winner
- The Leeds midfielder outshone some of his more illustrious team-mates
- The 25-year-old oozed class and may well start against Scotland next Friday
- Gareth Southgate’s confidence in Jude Bellingham is clear for all to see
- The teenager was trusted to see out the game in his England tournament debut
Kalvin Phillips ensured the man-of-the-match selectors had an easy job yesterday.
In a midfield that consisted of some pretty household names, this 25-year-old player from Leeds was different class, and he could become the unsung hero of this tournament.
Phillips hadn’t even kicked a ball in the Premier League when Gareth Southgate first called him up in August.
Kalvin Phillips was deservedly man of the match after a dominant performance against Croatia
The 25-year-old provided the key pass for Raheem Sterling to fire home the winner at Wembley
The Leeds midfielder proved the doubters wrong and could well start against Scotland
England’s manager has been tracking him since his Championship days, and he trusted him enough to start this Euro 2020 opener for England. His faith was repaid and then some.
In the first half, Phillips had a chance to score from a dipping volley. He displayed good technique in getting it on target, and I wonder if that settled him down a little.
From then on, he was the boss. His passing, both short and long, was on point and he exuded comfort.
I loved watching it at Wembley, and he and his family should be incredibly proud of this performance.
Some supporters were asking ‘Why is he starting?’ when the line-ups came out. Now plenty will be saying he should be starting against Scotland in the next group game.
As for Jude Bellingham, for a 17-year-old to be given the final 10 minutes when England are on the verge of victory shows how much he is rated.
Jude Bellingham came on to become England’s youngest-ever player at a major tournament
Southgate thinks so much of this teenager that he took off Harry Kane and asked Bellingham to see out the win.
He’s an incredible specimen who covers so much ground and is comfortable on the ball.
We’ll see more of him as the tournament goes on, I’m sure, and we’ll see a lot more of him in the future because he’s a superstar in the making.