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Pep Guardiola reveals Kalvin Phillips “arrived overweight” from World Cup

Pep Guardiola reveals Kalvin Phillips “arrived overweight” from World Cup

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has revealed that England midfielder Kalvin Phillips returned “overweight” from the World Cup and is currently unavailable for selection.

The former Leeds United man has endured a difficult few months at the Etihad since leaving the Whites in the summer, making a mere four appearances across all tournaments.

Phillips’s debut season with the Premier League champions has also been derailed by a shoulder injury, which he was forced to undergo surgery on in September, but he nevertheless made the England squad for the 2022 World Cup.

The 27-year-old featured as a substitute against Wales and Senegal in Qatar, providing an assist for Marcus Rashford against the former, but he was left on the bench for England’s other three matches following his recovery.

Man City returned to competitive action with a 3-2 win over EFL Cup holders Liverpool in the fourth round on Thursday, but Phillips was nowhere to be seen in the matchday squad.

© Reuters

Speaking to the media on Friday ahead of the resumption of the Premier League, Guardiola admitted that Phillips was left out of the EFL Cup squad as his physical condition was not up to scratch.

“He’s not injured. He arrived overweight. I don’t know [why]. He didn’t arrive in the condition to do training sessions and to play,” Guardiola told reporters.

When asked why that was the case given his fitness work with England and the nutritionists at his disposal, Guardiola added: “”No, no, no, no. Absolutely. That’s why he cannot play. When he will be ready, he will play, because we need him, we need him a lot.”

The City boss was pressed on the matter and was asked if Phillips’s weight was disappointing for him, but he insisted that any conversations between him and the midfielder over the matter would remain private.

Phillips is yet to start a game for Man City since commanding a €49m (£43.4m) fee to leave Leeds in the summer, coming off the bench twice in the Champions League, once in the Premier League and once in the EFL Cup.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola pictured on December 17, 2022© Reuters

The Englishman has not played in the top flight since coming on for the final minute of his side’s opening win over West Ham United, and he was able to feature for 40 minutes against Chelsea in the third round of the EFL Cup last month.

With Guardiola not prepared to select Phillips at this moment in time, the midfielder will miss a reunion with his former club Leeds, who play host to Man City on Wednesday at Elland Road.

Julian Alvarez will also be absent for that game following his role in Argentina’s World Cup triumph, while Ruben Dias is nursing a hamstring injury and is not available either.

Man City prepare to travel to Elland Road sat five points behind Arsenal in the Premier League table, and that gap could temporarily increase to eight should the Gunners beat West Ham United on Boxing Day.

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