Video LoadingVideo UnavailableClick to playTap to playThe video will auto-play soon8CancelPlay now

Is it coming home? Sign up to our England Euro 2020 email for all the build up to the final!

Invalid EmailSomething went wrong, please try again later.Sign UpWe use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time.More infoThank you for subscribingWe have more newslettersShow meSee ourprivacy notice

A year ago, Kalvin Phillips was celebrating a five-goal thrashing of Stoke that took Leeds to the top of the Championship.

He was thinking only about ­imminent promotion and about the challenge of ­staying in the Premier League the following season.

Twelve months later, the Yorkshire Pirlo is about to do battle with Marco ­Verratti and Jorginho in the biggest game in English football for more than half a century.

And it does not faze him. They do not scare him.

“I feel like once I’m on the pitch it doesn’t matter who they have played for or how long they have played,” he says. “It is just a matter of me beating that person and him knowing that I’m good enough to compete against him. Once the first whistle goes, that goes out of the window.”

Kalvin Phillip's rapid rise to the top has been hugely impressive
(Image: Getty Images)

And a year ago, Phillips and his girlfriend were thinking of a holiday when Southgate called to say he would be called up for last ­September’s Nations League game in Denmark.

“I got a call from Gareth to be in the first England squad and that was an amazing feeling,” said Phillips.

“I spoke to my girlfriend and we were supposed to go to Kenya on a safari tour. Then I got called up so didn’t want to book anything in case I got picked. Now I’ve got Three Lions on my chest!”

Now he is an established and key member of Southgate’s first-choice side but he does not see it as some sort of Cinderella story, saying: “I have worked hard enough to be in this position. This opportunity wasn’t gifted, it was worked for.”

Phillips has admitted he has sometimes played it safe in an ­England shirt but now both he AND the team believe they have the ­talent to go on and win Euro 2020.

Read More
Related Articles

  • Boss who sacked England fan over semi-final sickie responds with firm statement

Read More
Related Articles

  • BBC and ITV announce line-ups for Euro 2020 final as broadcasters compete for viewers

In fact, they believed it after the opening win, in which he played a man-of-the-match role.

Asked when a switch was flicked, Phillips responded: “For me, personally, it was the first game. It was a massive game – with the recent history between us and Croatia in recent tournaments, it was a big thing.

“I just think after that game we felt we could beat anybody in the group and then, after the group stages, we had Germany.

“Once we finished that game against Germany, we knew they were going to be one of the best teams we could face. The first game was a major point and then ­Germany as well.”

And Phillips gave an insight into how the self-belief in this England squad has snowballed as the ­tournament has progressed.

Sign up to the Mirror Football email here for the latest news and transfer gossip.

He said: “We’ve got to the point where we believe in ourselves.

“At the start of the tournament, you looked at the teams who were in it and how strong they were and you didn’t know if we could go as far as we have.

“But the guys we have around the training ground, the coaching staff, and the players we have got in the team, just made it feel as though it is one massive team – every game we went into we were confident, every game we didn’t think we were going to lose.”