Words: Richard Beecham, local democracy reporter
Leeds United footballer Kalvin Phillips has been praised by the Lord Mayor of Leeds for “showing us all the true spirit of sport”, following his efforts with the England national football team this summer.
The all-action midfielder played a key role for Gareth Southgate’s side in Euro 2020, providing an assist in the opening match against Croatia, and playing in all of his country’s seven matches at the tournament.
The Lord Mayor of Leeds Coun Asghar Khan chose this week’s full Leeds City Council meeting to pay tribute to Phillips, adding that he had written personally to congratulate him. He said:
“I think it is important to acknowledge the achievement of the England team in reaching the final of the Euros. It was a heartbreaking result, but they deserve great credit for lifting the spirit of the whole country.
“It was wonderful to see our very own Kalvin Phillips doing his club, city and country proud, and showing all of us the true spirit of sport. I have written to Kalvin to offer my congratulations on behalf of the city.”
Unusually for a council meeting, members then broke out into a spontaneous round of applause.
Wortley lad Phillips, who attended Whingate Primary School and then Farnley Academy as a youngster, made his debut for England last year, and has been a regular in the side since. He played youth football for Wortley Juniors, based just three miles away from Elland Road.
Euro 2020 saw him form a formidable central midfield partnership with West Ham’s Declan Rice, which helped carry England to the final, before losing on penalties to Italy.