Marcus Rashford has hailed Kalvin Phillips as “immense” following the Leeds midfielder’s titanic display in the engine room against Croatia on Sunday.
Phillips, earning just his ninth cap, picked an ideal time to nail his best display for Three Lions as they beat Croatia 1-0 at Wembley. The 25-year-old Leeds man broke up plenty of Croatia’s play in the middle of the park. He was also on hand to brilliantly create Raheem Sterling’s winner.
Beating two men, he slid the ball into Sterling’s path with the Man City star scoring his first goal in a major tournament for England.
It all drowned out a number of criticisms over Phillips’ selection in the first place.
With Declan Rice dropping deeper and offering protection to the defence, Phillips was able to play in a more advanced role.
And although Sterling picked up UEFA’s Man of the Match award, there were plenty who felt Phillips was worthy of the honour.
It also saw the Leeds player earn plenty of plaudits, none more so than within the England camp.
Not long to go until England start their #EURO2020 campaign with a tough test against Croatia on Sunday. @marksmithstuff, @pete_farries and @scottallenutd take a closer look at their strengths and weaknesses…
— Planet Sport (@PlanetSportcom) June 9, 2021
Leading the praise from Manchester United forward Rashford. He entered the fray with 30 minutes remaining and got to witness at first hand Phillips’ brilliance.
Quoting a tweet from England’s Twitter account, Rashford described Phillips as “Immense today.”
Phillips enjoys his display
During and after the match, a number of pundits, including Jermaine Jenas and Frank Lampard, were also full of praise for Phillips.
And speaking to the BBC, Leeds lad Phillips also admitted to enjoying himself in the Wembley sun.
“It was very enjoyable, it’s really warm for a start – it took its toll on us towards the end of the game.
“Yeah, it was obviously a great result, very happy with the performance.
“We know that there’s two more group games left and we need to perform just as good as that if not better in the next two games.”
When asked how it felt to have elevated himself from the Championship to the European Championships in 12 months, Phillips had a brilliant response.
“To be honest, I’m just laid back – that’s the kind of person I am regardless of what’s being thrown at me.
“I just try and take it in my path and relax as much as possible.
“I’ve got the team around me and the coaching staff around me to make me feel like that and anything can be possible.”
England’s next game is against Scotland at Wembley on Friday.