You are joking! Kalvin Phillips thought he was being tricked after winning England’s Player of the Year award after an unforgettable Euro 2020, while the Leeds star admits his success with the Three Lions hasn’t sunk in yet
- Kalvin Phillips named England’s Player of the Year after fantastic Euro 2020
- The Leeds United star tipped Mason Mount and Raheem Sterling to the honour
- Phillips thought the award was a joke because he only debuted last year
Over the years, Kalvin Phillips’s has been unforgettable. On Monday, the Leeds midfielder was crowned England’s Player of the Year, pitting Mason Mount and Raheem Sterling respectively.
He made his international debut only twelve months ago, starting in the 0-0 draw in the Nations League against Denmark.
Phillips’ career in England has taken off since that gray night in Copenhagen.
Kalvin Phillips Thought Someone Was Pranking Him After Winning England’s POTY
“Declan Rice gave me the award, but I actually thought he was playing a joke on me to be honest,” said Phillips, 25. “He walked up to me with a big smile on his face with something behind his back. I thought he had this kind of cake that you throw in people’s faces.
“I remember the debut from a year ago and to be honest I was very nervous because it was the first time I was somewhere like this.
‘I had never been in youth formations or anything, I didn’t know anyone.
“I came to the training ground and was nervous to talk to anyone, but I think after a few days of talking to everyone and the coaching staff, I felt like I was in Leeds, at home. But I’m not just here to be around. I am here to play games and play for my country and I will do everything I can to do that.”
The Leeds midfielder enjoyed a stellar Euro 2020 campaign as he helped England to the final
After starting the 2020-21 season with no Premier League or international experience, Phillips finds himself one of 27 players to have played in a major tournament final for England.
It’s certainly a unique club, but not that Phillips sees it that way.
“You could say that (it’s unique), but I don’t believe it, I’m just a player from Leeds kicking a football and wanting to make his country and his family proud.
“Of course it’s a great honour, I still don’t think it’s reached me yet, the pinnacle of doing so well in a tournament. Because it was also my first tournament, and I feel bad to say it, but I’m like, “What’s so important about not reaching the final?”
Phillips (L), now preparing for the World Cup qualifiers, says his success hasn’t sunk in yet
“It’s a great honor, I look back on it all the time. I always think about the whole tournament, not just the final and how good it felt to be involved in something like that,” he said.
Central to the build-up to the England final, Phillips is no longer the new kid, a key member of the national team’s present and future.
Hard as nails and bursting with energy in the engine room, Phillips played in all but 25 minutes of England’s Euros campaign.
He was quick to comfort Bukayo Saka after his penalty miss in the latest shootout against Italy
Phillips is no longer the new kid – he is an important member of the team’s present and future
His performances were brilliant, but perhaps the most poignant moment of Phillips’ tournament was when he consoled Bukayo Saka after the teenager’s decisive missed penalty in the final. Phillips was the first on the scene when Saka’s world came crashing down around him, recalling, “For me as a person, I feel like if someone is disappointed or something, I want them to come and talk to me.
“In the way we lost the final, especially to Bukayo because he is so young, on a big stage, I just felt like I had to go to him and comfort him.
“I just said, ‘Don’t worry, it happens in football’. Obviously he will be upset at that point, but even after the game in the dressing room I just say: “Listen, that’s football and if it were someone else, we’d all do the same. We all think the world of you now”.’