Kalvin Phillips: Man City star's heroic reaction to Bukayo Saka's penalty miss v Italy


Kalvin Phillips has completed his £45 million from Leeds United to Manchester City.

The Premier League champions officially announced the arrival of the England international on Monday, Phillips putting pen to paper on a six-year deal.

It’s a signing that makes City‘s midfield look even stronger going into the 2022/23 season.

Pep Guardiola’s side were in desperate need of a Fernandinho replacement and in Phillips, they’ve acquired one of the best around.

The 26-year-old is a magnificent defensive-minded operator and was one of the main reasons why Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds side took the Premier League by storm in 2020/21.

Phillips was absent through injury for most of last season, hence why the team struggled to replicate their impressive form in England’s top-flight.

And on top of being a high-quality footballer, Phillips is a top bloke, as he proved in England’s Euro 2020 final defeat to Italy at Wembley Stadium.

Kalvin Phillips in action for England vs Italy
LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 11: Kalvin Phillips of England is challenged by Federico Chiesa of Italy during the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Final between Italy and England at Wembley Stadium on July 11, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Frank Augstein – Pool/Getty Images)

The Leeds-born maestro was one of Gareth Southgate’s trusted lieutenants at the tournament and his marvellous performances saw him named the Three Lions’ Player of the Year for 2021.

Phillips didn’t step up to take a penalty in the heartbreaking shootout loss to the Azzurri, but his reaction to Bukayo Saka’s miss was truly heroic.

The Arsenal star looked a broken man after Gianluigi Donnarumma clawed away his tame spot kick and was quickly swarmed by opposition players who were in a state of euphoria.

Saka was all alone, until he was comforted by Phillips, who ran all the way from the halfway line without even taking a second to digest the result.

Video: Phillips’ heroic reaction to Saka’s penalty miss vs Italy

Kalvin, you’re an absolute legend.

Phillips could easily have fallen to his knees after Italy’s victory was confirmed, but he knew Saka – who was just 19 at the time – was in desperate need of comforting as soon as possible.

A short time after the Euro 2020 final, City’s new midfielder explained why he sprung into action following Saka’s miss.

“For me as a person, I feel like if anybody feels disappointed or anything, I want them to be able to come and talk to me,” Phillips said. “In the way we lost the final, especially for Bukayo because he is so young, on a big stage, I just felt like I needed to go over and console him.

“I just said ‘don’t worry about it. I said ‘it happens in football.’ I said to him ‘lift your head up.’ Obviously he is going to be upset at that moment but even after the game in the changing room, I’m just saying ‘listen, that’s the way football is and if it was anybody else, we’d all do the same. We all think the world of you right now.'”

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