Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has joked that Kalvin Phillips has the ‘perfect body’ after he dropped him from the squad and first team training last week after he returned from the World Cup overweight.
Phillips was recalled to the City bench on Wednesday night for the club’s trip to his former side Leeds United, a sign that Guardiola’s anger at his situation had somewhat abated.
‘He’s not injured – he arrived overweight,’ Guardiola said last week. ‘I don’t know [why]. He didn’t arrive in the condition to do training sessions and to play.’
Asked about the possibility of Phillips appearing this weekend for City in their clash with Everton, Guardiola cracked the joke before offering a rather more serious assessment of what he needs to do to be of use to the side.
He said that Phillips had made strenuous attempts to get fit for the World Cup after his shoulder surgery – but that he needed to ‘understand’ what City were trying to do.
‘He has the perfect body now – so sexy,’ Guardiola said. ‘We will see for the weekend.’
‘He has spent the first part of the season out with surgery to arrive for the World Cup – and did everything to get to the World Cup.
‘It’s not just about just being fit you also have to understand what we want to do, the movements etc.
‘So that means, as quick as possible, because Rodri cannot play all the games, so as quick as possible he he will play.
‘But I’m happy that yesterday for example Kalvin trained really well and sooner or later he will play.’
Having joined the Etihad in July 2022, the ex-Leeds midfielder has endured a torrid start to his career at the reigning Premier League champions.
Phillips has made just four appearances for his new club so far in 2022-23, having struggled with injury on a regular basis.
He missed 11 games as a result of a shoulder injury which had initially left his place in Gareth Southgate’s England squad in peril, but he managed to recover in time to make the final 26-man squad.