A new dimension. In the space of 90 minutes, and an accomplished match against Croatia (1-0) for England’s entry into Euro 2020, Kalvin Phillips (25) has become the new darling across the Channel. His relentless activity, his harassment work on Luka Modric, his striking attempts and, of course, his ball-to-the-foot breakthrough and left-wing assist for Raheem Sterling dazzled Three Lions fans and Gareth Southgate. “He brought together a lot of assets: good physical condition, a wide range of passes, the desire to do well… It’s fabulous to work with a guy like him because he is so humble”, appreciated the English coach.
Like him, observers are literally under the spell. Consultant for talkSPORT during the competition, José Mourinho, future coach of AS Roma and connoisseur of English football since his stints at Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham, was impressed by the Leeds midfielder, who honored against the vice-champions of the world in title its 9th selection. “We are talking about a player with no international experience, who has never played in the Champions’ League, who does not have 20-25 capes in his pockets. He comes from Championship and has only one season of the very intense Premier League, the most difficult championship in the world, in the legs. But he showed an incredible personality ”, confided the Lusitanian technician before continuing.
A story like no other
“Phillips has been more than stable. He wasn’t just involved in the goal, but also in the high pressing when Modric and Kovacic came down to get the ball. I don’t remember seeing him lose a ball in the dangerous areas of the pitch during construction. I find it to be very, very good. When you see a player like that arrive and perform at this level of competition and requirement, I find it fantastic ”, greeted the Special One, conquered by the native of Leeds. Since his remarkable performance, the protégé of Marcelo Bielsa, who repositioned him as a defensive midfielder and made progress in many areas, is everywhere in the headlines when he was not even frankly scheduled to start the tournament as holder.
Everyone is interested in the man with the braids and is trying to find out who is behind the flagship of the Peacocks, with whom he has played 194 league games (Championship and Premier League) since 2014 (13 goals). And his story has something to move. His father was not really present, alternating periods in prison. He is still imprisoned today and they exchange every two weeks by phone. Raised by his mother, who had three other children to care for, the English No.14 had a childhood similar to that of Marcus Rashford. “There were times when my mother didn’t eat at night because she had to feed us. My mother had two jobs to earn enough money to feed us. Grandmother helped us with the food ”, he explained recently to Times. An unusual trajectory. England may have found a new hero there as she likes them. Yorkshire Pirlo.