By Nick Ware

15th Jun, 2021 | 7:10am

Ian Wright thrilled by Leeds United star Kalvin Phillips after England display

Ian Wright was blown away by a Kalvin Phillips effort on goal as the Leeds United midfielder helped England to a win during their European Championships opener on Sunday.

Phillips started for The Three Lions as they edged out Croatia 1-0 at Wembley, with the Whites star registering an assist for Raheem Sterling’s winner.

The 25-year-old nearly scored the opening goal himself, after his first-half shot from outside of the penalty area was saved by Croatia goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic.

Speaking directly to Phillips on episode seven of ‘The Lions’ Den’ on England YouTube channel [14/06/21], ex-England international Wright had special words for the Whites man.

“We could have maybe got another goal,” he said.

“Kalvin had an unbelievable strike from the edge of the box. We started really well against them [Croatia] and we don’t normally do that so now that we’ve won we’ve got so much more to get better.”

Full package?

If Phillips has one slight weakness, it’s his goalscoring record.

The ‘Yorkshire Pirlo’ has only scored four goals since the beginning of the 2018/19 season, coinciding with the arrival of Marcelo Bielsa in West Yorkshire.

The season before El Loco pitched up at Elland Road Phillips scored seven goals, so the potential is there for him to add goals to his game.

His role under Bielsa at Leeds is such that he rarely gets the opportunity to shoot, let alone score, so it’s almost by design that he doesn’t get many goals. His only strike last season was a free-kick on the final game of the season against West Brom.

But with Declan Rice holding base in midfield for England, Phillips is allowed to roam further forwards, and he showed just how effective he can be when given the license to stride closer towards goal.

Bielsa has clearly defined his role with the Whites, and it’s a move that has paid off handsomely, so we have no desire to see him switch it up for his club.

But it’s great to see Phillips showing a slightly different side to his game for England, and if he hits a few more shots the way he connected with his one against Croatia on Sunday, then expect him to score his first England goal before the tournament’s conclusion.

In other Leeds United news, Laura Woods has admitted her shock at this Whites star