Yorkshire-born players driving England’s journey to Euro 2020 final, stats show

Yorkshire’s boast it has provided the beating heart of the England side has been bolstered by new stats on how many minutes players from each region have played in Euro 2020.

The Three Lions’ defence is dominated by three South Yorkshire born players, with John Stones, from Barnsley, alongside Harry Maguire, from Sheffield, at its centre and Kyle Walker, also from the Sheffield, on the right.

And Leeds-born Kalvin Phillips has won plaudits throughout the tournament for his shielding and distribution role in front of the defence, reinforcing his nickname as the Yorkshire Pirlo, a tribute to the imperious Italian midfielder Andrea Pirlo.

Euro 2020 England squad: minutes played, by area of birth
(PA Graphics)

The predominance of Yorkshire-born players in Gareth Southgate’s first choice line-up has drawn comparisons with the county’s performance in the 2012 London Olympic Games, when its athletes’ medal haul would have put it 12th on the overall table, if it was country.

Now research by the PA news agency shows that players born in the Yorkshire and Humber Region have spent the most minutes on the pitch in England’s six matches leading up to the final.

Including Sheffield’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who has totalled 19 minutes in two substitute appearances against Croatia and Ukraine, Yorkshire-born players have spent 1991 minutes on the pitch, 31.8% of the total.

Harry Maguire, John Stones, Kalvin Phillips and Kyle Walker
Harry Maguire, John Stones, Kalvin Phillips and Kyle Walker (PA)

London is the next region on the list, with 29.5%, then the North-East with 10.8%.

And “outside England” gets a mention as Raheem Sterling was born in Jamaica.

But residents of two of England’s regions, the East of England and the East Midlands, have seen no players born in their areas take the field at all.

In terms of individual players, goalkeeper Jordan Pickford is the only player to have been on the pitch for all the 570 minutes England have played so far.

But Yorkshiremen Stones and Phillips are close behind with 558 and 544 minutes respectively.

England v Denmark – UEFA Euro 2020 – Semi Final – Wembley Stadium
Kalvin Phillips celebrates victory over Denmark at Wembley (Nick Potts/PA)

Maguire was born in Sheffield and brought up in the village of Mosborough, on the southern outskirts of the city.

He attended schools over the border in Derbyshire but went through the Sheffield United youth system before making his debut for the Blades.

The Manchester United defender regularly returns to his old primary school and was praised during the first wave of the pandemic when he organised food parcels for the elderly in Mosborough.

Walker was also born in Sheffield, attending Porter Croft Infant and Junior School and High Storrs secondary school while also going through the Sheffield United system.

Stones was brought up in the small South Yorkshire town of Penistone where he played for Penistone Church FC, going through the Barnsley Academy before playing for the Oakwell side’s first team aged 17.

Phillips was born in the Wortley area of Leeds and was spotted by Leeds United at an early age while playing for his local side Wortley FC.

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Yorkshire has also laid claim to Gareth Southgate, due to the £3 million mansion he has lived in near Harrogate for 20 years, since his days as Middlesbrough manager.

Southgate was named as an Honorary Yorkshireman at the White Rose Tourism Awards in 2018 following England’s unexpected semi-final appearance in the World Cup.

During that World Cup campaign three years ago, the then Sheffield City Council leader Julie Dore called for any victory parade to take place in the city due to amount of Yorkshire players in that squad.

In the 2012 Olympics, Yorkshire athletes brought seven gold, two silver and three bronze medals home, which would have placed the county, which has a population of six million, higher up the table than countries such as Jamaica, Spain, Brazil and South Africa.