On Christmas Eve, Manchester City fans’ hearts will have sunk after reading Pep Guardiola’s comments about Kalvin Phillips..
Phillips was called up to England’s World Cup squad after recovering from injury in time, and it was hoped that he would be able to play in Qatar. The Englishman, however, struggled to break into the Three Lions squad and was instead a spectator on the bench for the vast majority of the side’s run to the quarter-finals.
Although his lack of matches was a concern, there was some hope that he would be fresh and ready for City’s competitive return. Unfortunately, this was not the case..
Phillips is not fit, according to Guardiola, and he returned ‘not in the best conditions to train’. This was followed on Christmas Eve by claims that the midfielder is currently ‘overweight,’ a devastating statement for the 27-year-old, who had impressed against Chelsea prior to the World Cup.
A strong performance against Liverpool on Thursday night could have set him up for a start against his beloved Leeds United on Wednesday, but that plan appears to be in jeopardy. Phillips has only made four Blues appearances since moving from Elland Road..
The injury he suffered during a friendly against Barcelona did not help, but even when fully recovered, the City man has struggled to fill the shoes of.
Guardiola and the Blues are now at a crossroads as to what to do with Phillips for the remainder of the 2022/23 season.
Of course, it is far too early for City to consider Phillips’ permanent departure from the Etihad. During his time in Leeds, the Yorkshireman demonstrated that he is capable of much more than what he has so far delivered.
However, City should consider a loan move until the end of the season to help their defensive midfielder rediscover his form. Phillips requires a run of regular football, which is unlikely to happen in Manchester with Rodri ahead of him at the Etihad..
Phillips’ confidence is likely to have been shaken as a result of what has happened in recent months, and a temporary switch for more playing time could benefit the midfielder. Perhaps relocating to Leeds is the best option for him.
He would be able to slot into the first team almost immediately, gain Premier League minutes, and be close enough to his family to receive crucial support. Guardiola would not make the decision to loan Phillips out lightly, but with Gundogan available to provide cover in defensive midfield, now appears to be the ideal time to finalize a deal for him..
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