Kalvin Phillips: Leeds midfield star hailed as “one of the best in the world”

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Euro 2020 saw a number of emerging talents make their mark on the international stage. Among them were Spain's Pedri, Italy's Gianluca Donnarumma - and England's Kalvin Phillips.

A lifelong Leeds United fan, the tough-tackling 25-year-old was a standout performer for the Whites during their first season back in the Premier League in 16 years. At the start of the campaign, Phillips was handed his first international cap by Gareth Southgate and has quickly established himself as a fixture in the side.

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An ever-present in England's marvelous run to the final of this summer's competition, Phillips showed fans around the continent his incredible work rate and impressive mind for the game. In particular, the man known to Leeds fans as the 'Yorkshire Pirlo' was lauded by England supporters for his magnificent performance in the country's opening game of the tournament against Croatia.

One man who has known all about Phillips' abilities for years, of course, is his club captain Liam Cooper.

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Speaking ahead of the start of the new Premier League season, Scotland centre-back Cooper gave his views on the rise of his teammate, handing out a huge compliment in his direction.

"He announced himself in that first game against Croatia (at Euro 2020) and I've told him that his life has changed forever now," Cooper told Sky Sports.

"He knows that though, he's not a stupid lad and lives his life the right way anyway.

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"I've seen his journey from a young lad to where he is now and it's been a pleasure to see - and he belongs there.

"He works so hard here (at Leeds), all the boys and the people of Leeds think the world of him and he deserves everything that comes his way."

Cooper also backed Phillips not to get complacent as a result of his recent success, insisting that the Yorkshireman has an incredible work ethic. 

"I've seen how hard he works every single day, I see how much he takes on and turns it into his game.

"For me, he is one of the best midfielders in the world right now," declared Cooper. 

Leeds get their 2021/22 Premier League campaign underway with a trip to Old Trafford to take on longtime rivals Manchester United on August 14. Despite his Euro 2020 exertions, Phillips is almost certain to take his place in Marcelo Bielsa's line-up for the opening weekend clash.

Looking to build on a creditable ninth-place finish last season, Leeds supporters will be hoping that their star man can live up to Cooper's recent lofty praise.

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