Ashley Cole issues apology after admitting he misjudged England star

Date published: Thursday 8th July 2021 7:46 - James Marshment

Kalvin Phillips England midfielder and all-round good guy

ITV pundit Ashley Cole admits he owed Kalvin Phillips a “little sorry” after admitting he was blown away by the midfielder’s performance in the England midfield against Denmark.

The Three Lions were forced to dig deep to overcome the dogged Danes on an emotional night at Wembley. A 2-1 win, after extra time, means England are in their first ever final since the 1966 World Cup.

And Leeds star Phillips – an ever-present under Gareth Southgate in the tournament – was once again at his commanding best. After a difficult first half, he then began to dominate the midfield and no player on the pitch made more pressures or ball recoveries than he.

Indeed, Phillips’ fitness was a big reason why England ultimately gained control and wore Denmark down.

Leading up to the tournament, Cole had questioned Phillips’ selection. But after witnessing at first hand his display, he admitted the Leeds man now has his respect.

“It’s emotional,” Cole told ITV.

“I’ll say it live on air, I had to get Kalvin Phillips here and say to him, ‘you know what… big respect’.

“I think he’s been tremendous in this tournament, he’s been so solid and integral in this England

“For me that was my little ‘sorry’.”

Cole also discussed England’s team spirit after the win.

“It’s a little bit surreal, seeing the boys celebrate with their families, who obviously can’t come down and celebrate with them on the pitch, was brilliant.

“I think they’ve worked so hard in the game and to see how happy they are with the staff, the manager, the coaches, it’s brilliant to see so I’m delighted with that.”

Must-see scenes from across London as England celebrate semi-final win

Kalvin Phillips happy at Leeds

Phillips’ form at the European Championships is sure to raise the number of suitors for the Leeds man.

Phillips has started all six of England’s games at Euro 2020 and looks assured of a place in the final to face Italy.

The Daily Mirror reported Tottenham and Liverpool were watching Phillips in October.

Real Madrid, meanwhile, were supposed to be keeping a close eye on him after his bow at Euro 2020.

However, his agent Kevin Sharp told i: “Before Kalvin signed his last contract, we had good interest so we sat down and explored all the pros and cons.

“His desire was never to leave. It was to be rewarded and stay and play for the team he supported as a kid.

“Within the contract he signed in September 2019, we included provisions within it for if Leeds reached the Premier League. It was all set up for the top flight.

“We knew it was a bit of a gamble, but we knew Leeds would get there under [Marcelo] Bielsa and obviously they did.

“There may be clubs who are actually looking at Kalvin now. Because the more successful you are – playing for England in big tournaments – naturally breeds interest.

“But Kalvin is happy at Leeds and has no desire to move whatsoever. It’s more a case of ‘carry on what you’re doing for club and country’.”

READ MORE: Leeds given transfer green light for forward after learning lofty fee


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