Jack Grealish has asked Kalvin Phillips to pass on a message to the Leeds United fanbase amid praise for his performance against Croatia.
Grealish, consigned to the bench, could only watch on as Phillips produced a man-of-the-match display for England in their opening game of the European Championships, with manager Gareth Southgate unwilling to let the Aston Villa captain off the leash.
After missing a training session on Tuesday, concerns were raised that Grealish had picked up an injury, but the playmaker allayed those fears in a recent interview: “I’m fine. I’m all good,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Daily Euros podcast.
Grealish has not let the Croatia disappointment get him down, and he has been singing the praises of Phillips ahead of Friday’s clash with Scotland. He told talkSPORT: “He’s obviously very difficult to play against, I think the whole Leeds team is actually because of the way they play and the way they run.
“Kalv is known as a passer and a hard tackler, but at the weekend he showed a different side to his game, for when he set up the goal.
“He went past a couple of players and then cut in and slipped Raheem [Sterling] through.
“Obviously we see that every day in training and we know just how good Kalvin is, so it doesn’t really come as any surprise to us, the way he performed at the weekend.
“Yorkshire Pirlo? I’ve heard that plenty of times. That’s what he is, isn’t he?”
Grealish, though, has had to have a word with the Leeds man on more than one occasion.
“I don’t know if you know, but I get absolutely caned by Leeds fans 24/7,” he laughed.
“So I always say to him, ‘tell your fans to stop messaging me on Twitter, man!’ Me and Kalv always have a bit of banter about that.”
All jokes aside, Grealish is intent on making his mark for England against Scotland, just as Phillips did against Croatia. He is hopeful Southgate will afford him the opportunity to do just that.
“I’m so desperate to get on the pitch and prove to people just how good I am,” he said.
“These are the type of games that I thrive off.”