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Kalvin Phillips reflects on journey from flag-waving England fan to Three Lions star

It was only three years ago that Kalvin Phillips was hanging flags up inside his house to support England in their bid for World Cup glory.

Now the Leeds midfielder has the chance to help the Three Lions end a 55-year wait for a trophy.

Phillips, 25, has been sensational in his first season in the Premier League – even if he won’t admit it himself.

With Jordan Henderson struggling for fitness after missing the last four months of the season with a groin injury, it is likely that he’ll be heavily involved in England’s Euro campaign.

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Phillips said: “Regarding Jordan, whether he’s fit or not doesn’t really matter as long as I am ready to fill in for whoever isn’t playing.

“I am happy to do that and I am confident I can do that.

Kalvin Phillips is ready to play his part at Euro 2020
Kalvin Phillips is ready to play his part at Euro 2020

“Throughout the season, I think I’ve done reasonably well. I am very confident in myself when I’m called upon to put in a good shift.

“I’m excited more than anything. Obviously not everyone knows me as a person, but I’m laid-back and I try not to let anything get to me.

“For tournaments such as this, to come in and hopefully not feel any pressure, is a bonus.”

Phillips doesn’t seem the kind of character to let the pressure take its toll after spending the last three years working with Marcelo Bielsa at Leeds.

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He said: “The way I am has a lot to do with my family, Marcelo at Leeds, the lads here and the coaching staff.

“In general, I’m quite a grounded person. I won’t come to you and say I played unbelievable in a game.

The Leeds star was cheering on the Three Lions back in 2018
The Leeds star was cheering on the Three Lions back in 2018

“I am always looking for improvements in my game. I think it’s the way Marcelo has coached me to look at myself and to never get too hyped over a game has helped me.

“No matter how you do, there are always improvements that need to be made.

“It just comes down to me wanting to be a better player . That’s what I’ll do until my time is up.”

Phillips added: “Whenever there’s a major tournament and England are involved, I’m just a fan.

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“I don’t consider myself a fan as much now – but I’m definitely still a fan,

“I always want England to do well, to get to the finals, to win it.

“Three years ago I was sat in my living room with a friend and we just put flags up all over the house.

“I remember when Harry Kane scored a penalty against Panama and celebrating that moment. Even now, it gives me goosebumps.”

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