Ashley Cole did not make many Leeds-supporting friends on social media at the start of Euro 2020. Despite Kalvin Phillips producing a near-perfect display in the win over Croatia, Cole was critical. But on Wednesday, Cole admitted he had performed a u-turn – and told Phillips he was “sorry”.
Phillips has since started all six matches at Euro 2020 as England book their place in the final of a major tournament for the first time in 55 years. He has been everywhere, covering every blade of grass. Despite a shaky first 45 against Denmark on Wednesday, he finished the entire 120 minutes.
The Leeds ace even outlasted West Ham’s Declan Rice – such is the trust that Gareth Southgate has bestowed on the Leeds star. At the start of the tournament, Cole spoke of where Phillips could improve in a debate on Twitter with Leeds fans. They included Tweets such as:
Euro 2020: What did Cole say to Leeds and England ace Phillips?
But following Wednesday’s win, Cole was much more complimentary of the Leeds star. It is little surprise that Phillips is performing the way he is, at least to the knowledge of us Leeds supporters. It goes without saying he has been near-perfect all season. Without him, we lost seven of nine games.
Speaking to ITV after the match, Cole admitted that during the celebrations, he pulled Phillips for a chat. He says he spoke to Phillips and admitted that he had changed his opinion – before even saying he had said “sorry”.
“Yeah it’s emotional,” he told ITV. “And I’ll say live on air I had to get Kalvin Phillips here and say to him, you know what, big respect, because I think he’s been tremendous in this tournament. He’s been so solid and he’s been integral in this England team, so for me, that was my little sorry.”