Kalvin Phillips exhibited leadership credentials beyond his years as he was the first to console Bukayo Saka following the youngster’s Euro 2020 final penalty miss.
The Leeds United midfielder was brilliant throughout the tournament but his most impressive contribution came seconds after the final had been decided.
After agonisingly seeing his spot kick saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma, Saka was alone in the penalty area as the Italian players celebrated around him.
However, Phillips immediately showed his compassion towards his international team mate as he ran straight to the Arsenal winger to put an arm around him.
When the clip surfaced on social media, there were hundreds of comments commending the empathy shown by the 25-year-old and he admitted that he didn’t want Saka to feel as though as he was on his own.
“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,” said Phillips whilst on England duty recently.
“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.'”
The Leeds supporters were not surprised in the slightest to see such a heart-warming gesture from their star midfielder after he has displayed the kind of person he is over and over again during his time at the club.
It epitomised everything that the Whites have grown to be under Marcelo Bielsa with a rock-solid team spirit and togetherness at the core of all the success they have enjoyed.
This has been similar to the kind of bond Gareth Southgate has created between his players and the fans after so much disappointment in the last few decades.
It is a huge credit to Phillips that he is right at the heart of both of those teams and his family, his city and his country should be extremely proud of what he has become.