Pep Guardiola has claimed that England midfielder Kalvin Phillips was left out from the squad to face Liverpool on Thursday because he returned “overweight”.
The 27-year-old was given time off after being part of England’s World Cup squad, but when he returned to City, he was unable to train, according to the Man City manager.
Phillips’ fellow England squad members in Qatar, Phil Foden, Jack Grealish, and John Stones, all played against Liverpool, while Kyle Walker was an unused substitute but did not even make the matchday squad.
“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.” When asked if this was a surprise as Phillips had been with England and the national team’s department of nutritionists which should have ensured he was kept in optimum shape, the manager said: “Absolutely [this should be the case]. That’s why he cannot play. When he will be ready, he will play, because we need him, we need him a lot.”
The Spanish manager did not speak more on the matter and said that he will have a “private conversation with Kalvin”.
It is Phillips’ most recent setback since joining City from Leeds United in the summer on a six-year deal with an initial payment of ‘£42 million‘. After making three substitute appearances in August and September, a shoulder issue he had at Leeds returned, necessitating surgery, which put him out for two months.
City’s next game is against Leeds on Wednesday, but it’s unclear whether he’ll be available for selection against his former club. City then hosts Everton on New Year’s Eve before facing Chelsea twice in a row, first at Stamford Bridge in the league on 5 January and then at home three days later in the FA Cup.