IT is doing Kalvin Phillips a massive disservice to say he could be the ‘secret’ hit of this summer for England – but somehow his performance against Croatia has caught the world off-guard.

Whereas the inclusion of Raheem Sterling ahead of Jack Grealish, Kieran Trippier as a left-back, or Tyrone Mings at centre-back seemed genuine bones of contention among supporters in the lead up to Sunday, there was never any serious doubt that Gareth Southgate would employ two supposedly defensive midfield options.

Given Jordan Henderson’s lack of game time, the smart money was already on Phillips partnering Declan Rice, offering stability to allow more extravagance in the front four.

What we did not expect, of course, was that Southgate would persist with a 4-3-3 formation and take the reins off both Phillips and Mason Mount, leaving Rice as the sole deep-lying man.

Phillips revelled in the chance to venture forward, completing 31 of his 33 attempted passes and creating the game’s only goal for Raheem Sterling.

His performance did not escape the attention of the great and the good. Mesut Ozil, Michael Ballack, Nigel de Jong – even FIFA – tweeted their appreciation of a player who, until this season, had not played top-flight football.

Anyone who has watched Leeds United’s rise in recent years will know the huge influence that Marcelo Bielsa has had on Phillips’ game, with the legendary Argentine coach turning him from a typical ‘box-to-box’ man into a midfield lynchpin, almost a third centre-half, tasked with dropping in as a sweeper, recovering the ball and launching quick attacks.

His presence was exactly what England needed against a Croatian midfield who looked more than happy to stroke the ball around in the Wembley sun and do little of the chasing needed to get the ball back.

On Friday, England will surely be drawn into a different type of game. A younger, motivated Scotland side will press and hassle, so it may be that Southgate looks to employ Phillips – and those around him – in a slightly different manner to cope.

Henderson has shown he can play as an eight or a four during his career but for the Leeds man to produce such versatility on the big stage, unannounced, shows tremendous promise. We may even be seeing the passing of the torch as Henderson, at 30 and with 59 caps, plays back-up to Phillips and Rice as first-choice options in the middle.

Speaking of a changing of the guard, ITV’s choice to demote Clive Tyldesley to second choice behind Sam Matterface continues to be a decision hard to substantiate.

While Matterface has proven himself to be a fine radio commentator, his work on TV – and particularly alongside Lee Dixon – does not strike a similar note.

ITV’s punditry line-up arguably eclipses that of the BBC, with Roy Keane, Gary Neville, Emma Hayes and Ian Wright especially strong thus far but pushing Matterface ahead of Clive Tyldesley continues to feel like the wrong move.

Nostalgia is not what is used to be, and Tyldesley’s golden years calling England games and Champions League nights showed a man at the top of his profession. Listening to him paired with the ever-listenable Ally McCoist for the Netherlands v Ukraine game, however, showed a warmth and good humour that is completely missing from most commentary teams on either channel.

God forbid we go back to the morose wisecracks of Mark Lawrenson – but having a co-commentator who at least sounds as if he is enjoying the tournament should be an obvious box to tick.

Tyldesley’s experience and relatability should have him at the top of the ITV tree until Matterface, or anyone else for that matter, honestly looks ready to surpass him.

On BBC, a note of appreciation for Jonathan Pearce and Martin Keown’s efforts on a tremendously difficult day covering the Denmark v Finland game.

Christian Eriksen’s collapse was a horrendous thing on which to keep a conversation going but the pair did it with dignity and professionalism, even if the action should long since have been shifted to the studio.

As someone who was commentating on local radio on Fabrice Muamba’s fateful night at White Hart Lane I have only the upmost respect for the journalists involved.