By Pranav Shahaney

14th Jun, 2021 | 3:10pm

Rio Ferdinand lauds Kalvin Phillips England display

Former Manchester United defender and pundit for BBC’s Euro 2020 coverage Rio Ferdinand waxed lyrical of Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips for his performance against Croatia.

The Yorkshire-born Leeds star was once again the driving force of his side’s victory, but this time it was on the international stage where he represented his country at the Euros.

Playing alongside Declan Rice, Phillips was expected to form a double pivot with the West Ham man. However, Gareth Southgate gave the Leeds player the licence to roam forward, and he capped it off by providing the assist to Raheem Sterling’s winning goal.

Speaking in the studio after the game, Ferdinand said, “He’s [Phillips] competitive, he’s dynamic.

“The timing of his runs when he broke out of midfield was perfect, especially with the goal.

“I think he’s just a great lad. Bielsa’s been a huge impact on him and had a huge influence on him in terms of fitness & nutrition.”

Balling on the big time

The pre-tournament fuss surrounding Kalvin Phillips was ridiculous despite pundits praising him.

However, all it took was one game to silence the critics, and we loved every minute of that England game.

We’ve seen Phillips play this role previously before Bielsa took over at the helm, and in our recent piece where we discussed Harrison Reid’s probable arrival, we explained how the England international could thrive in a freer role.

Southgate saw enough of him to play him ahead of Jordan Henderson and he’s absolutely spot on in his assessment of the player.

His mobility gives the England manager so many different systems to play and even if he asked him to play further up the pitch or drop into the backline as Rice did on occasion on Sunday, he would do it without any fuss.

Phillips also covered the most ground (10.2km) of any player on the pitch. [LUFCDATA]

We’re waiting to see how Southgate deploys him against low-blocks, especially if he plans on playing Jack Grealish as well.

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