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Five things you may not know about England star Kalvin Phillips

Five things you may not know about England star Kalvin Phillips
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The Leeds midfielder starred in his country's Euro 2020 opener against Croatia.

Kalvin Phillips won rave reviews for his performance for England in their 1-0 win against Croatia in their opening Euro 2020 match.

The Leeds midfielder capped an impressive display for Gareth Southgate's side by setting up Raheem Sterling's decisive second-half goal.

Here, the PA news agency looks at five things you may not know about Phillips.

Bielsa polishes rough diamond

Phillips, right, made 10 Championship appearances for Leeds during 2015/16 after making his debut towards the end of the previous season
Phillips, right, made 10 Championship appearances for Leeds during 2015/16 after making his debut towards the end of the previous season (David Davies/PA)

Phillips, 25, progressed through Leeds' academy and was handed his first-team debut by former boss Neil Redfearn in a Championship defeat to Wolves in April 2015. He was one of several homegrown players to become a first-team regular during Garry Monk's tenure, but came into his own under current boss Marcelo Bielsa and was rewarded with his first England cap against Denmark in a Nations League game last September. He made his ninth appearance for the Three Lions against Croatia.

Not just a 'stopper'

Bielsa transformed a combative young midfielder with a keen eye for a shot on goal into one of the country's best young defensive midfield players, but Phillips proved a revelation in England's opening Group D match at Euro 2020 against Croatia as boss Southgate chose to play him in a more advanced role. Dubbed "the Yorkshire Pirlo" by Leeds fans, that nickname was picked up by the tournament's Twitter account after Phillips showed he is much more than a holding player, timing his run in the build-up to Sterling's winner to perfection and cutting inside before laying on a beautifully-weighted assist.

Working-class hero

Phillips was born in Bramley as one of triplets – one of his sisters died as a child – and joined Leeds' academy from local side Wortley Juniors as a 14-year-old after being spotted at a tournament. He had turned up to watch his friends play and was drafted in to make up the numbers. He is fiercely proud of his working-class background and in an interview earlier this year said: "As a family, we're very close and my mum's always told me: 'Don't ever think you're better than you are. Be grounded and proud of where you're from'."

Loyalty rewarded

Phillips celebrates Leeds' promotion to the Premier League with Jack Harrison, left, and Helder Costa
Phillips celebrates Leeds' promotion to the Premier League with Jack Harrison, left, and Helder Costa (Tim Goode/PA)

Aston Villa made a reported offer in excess of £25million for Phillips after Leeds lost out to Derby in the Championship play-off semi-finals in 2019. Leeds chief executive Angus Kinnear later revealed Phillips had made an "absolutely crazy financial decision" to stay at Elland Road and sign a new five-year deal in a bid to win Premier League promotion with his boyhood club. Unfazed by the leap to the top flight, the Yorkshireman's star has continued to soar and his value today is in the region of £50m.

Driven to make a difference

Kalvin Phillips, right, takes a knee in support of the fight against racism before England's friendly with Romania
Phillips, right, takes a knee in support of the fight against racism before England's friendly with Romania (Lee Smith/PA)

Phillips revealed in November last year that his father, Mark, was serving a prison sentence at Wealstun, which is close to Leeds' Thorp Arch training ground and that they speak twice a month. Phillips has paid tribute to his mother, Lindsay, for the selfless role she played in raising him, his brother and two sisters. Away from the pitch he has been vocal in his support for the Black Lives Matter movement, claiming he feels responsible as a prominent black footballer to actively help in the fight against racism.

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England manager Gareth Southgate applauds fans after the match on June 6, 2021
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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
ChinaChina21121245
JapanJapan175830
United StatesUnited States16171245
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia10151136
AustraliaAustralia1031326
Great BritainGreat Britain891128
Today's Olympic highlights header

Saturday's key events


TRIATHLON
· After silvers in both the men's and women's events, Team GB will be fancied to get on the podium again in the mixed relay (11.30pm-1am)

SWIMMING
· Touted as Michael Phelps's successor, Caeleb Dressel already has two gold medals from these Games and he will be going for a third in the men's 50m butterfly final (2.30am)
· It is Katie Ledecky vs. Ariarne Titmus III in the women's 800m freestyle final, with Ledecky entering as firm favourite (2.46am)
· Great Britain will be heavily fancied to add another gold medal to their swimming haul, having produced by far the fastest qualifying time for the mixed 4x100m medley relay final (3.43am)

ATHLETICS
· Dina Asher-Smith is one of three British women in the 100m semi-finals (3.01am-3.20am), and will hope to challenge for a medal in what is likely to be a star-studded final (1.50pm)
· The inaugural Olympic 4x400m mixed relay event concludes with Great Britain one of the eight finalists going for gold (1.35pm)

RUGBY SEVENS
· Team GB's dreams of an unlikely gold are still alive in the women's event as they face France in their semi-final (3.30am). The winners will face either New Zealand or Fiji in the gold medal match later in the day (10am)

SAILING
· Gold medals are up for grabs in the windsurfer - RS:X finals. Emma Wilson participates for Team GB in the women's final (6.33am), while Tom Squires is in action in the men's (7.33am)

TENNIS
· Following his shock semi-final defeat, ending his hopes of a Golden Slam in 2021, Novak Djokovic battles for bronze against Pablo Carreno Busta (7am)
· The women's singles event reaches its conclusion with the gold medal match between Belinda Bencic and Marketa Vondrousova

> Today's schedule in full
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EFL Cup
Olympic Games Men's Football
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Portuguese Super Cup
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Scottish Championship
Scottish League One
Scottish League Two
Belgian Pro League
Swiss Super League
Russian Premier League
Ukrainian Premier League
Swedish Allsvenskan
Danish Superliga
Finnish Veikkausliiga
League of Ireland Premier
Belarusian Premier League
2.Bundesliga
Ligue 2
Major League Soccer
Brasileiro
Copa Diego Maradona
Uruguayan Primera Division
Liga MX
Chinese Super League
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