Pep Guardiola 'would love' to give Kalvin Phillips more opportunities

Pep Guardiola praises ‘exceptional’ Kalvin Phillips and reveals he ‘would love’ to give England international more opportunities… but admits £45m signing is unlikely to replace Rodri in Manchester City’s XI

  • Kalvin Phillips has started just one game so far this season for Manchester City
  • The England international joined Man City from Leeds for £45m last year 
  • Big debates on Man United, Chelsea and Arsenal on It’s All Kicking Off podcast 

Pep Guardiola has admitted he would ‘love’ to give Kalvin Phillips as many opportunities as possible, but acknowledged he faced a difficult task in displacing Rodri from Manchester City’s starting XI.

The England international arrived at the Etihad last year from Leeds in a £45million deal, but has struggled to make an impact with the Premier League champions and is expected to leave in January.

The 27-year-old had to wait until May to make his first Premier League start for the club and has played just 89 minutes across four league appearances so far this term.

Even when Rodri missed three matches through suspension in October, Phillips’ only start came in the Carabao Cup defeat against Newcastle.

Guardiola, however, was full of praise for the midfielder.

Pep Guardiola has admitted he ‘would love’ to give Kalvin Phillips as many opportunities as possible but can’t include him in the team because of Rodri

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‘Kalvin is exceptional in many things. Why he doesn’t play? Rodri is key for us,’ the Spaniard said, as per Fabrizio Romano. 

Guardiola added Phillips was very supportive of his teammates and never complained about being left out. 

‘Never, ever makes one action against mates that play or trains bad,’ he explained.

‘I’d love to give him as much minutes as possible.’ 

Last month, Phillips admitted he was ‘going to have to make a decision on [my future] over the next months.’

While he has found himself on the fringes at club level, Southgate’s faith in the 27-year-old has not appeared to waver in the 16 months since his ill-fated move.

Phillips has featured in four of England’s last five games in all competitions and started the 3-1 win over Italy as the Three Lions clinched a spot at Euro 2024 with two matches to spare.

For his part, Guardiola has previously made clear he would not keep players at City against their wish.

‘I said a few months ago, but after that they have to agree with the club,’ he explained last month. 

Phillips is likely to leave the Etihad in January after having very limited first team opportunities following his £45m to City from Leeds in the summer of 2022

‘My opinion is my opinion. The last word belongs to the club.

‘If he decides to do it [leave], then do it. If the agreement is not done, then he stays. He’s behaving incredibly. 

‘One of the most generous players I’ve ever seen – honestly, as I don’t want to compliment when players don’t play matches. Others are maybe problems in locker room – it’s completely the opposite.

‘Every time he goes to national team with Gareth [Southgate] I’m the happiest man in the world. When he plays it’s a benefit for me. I don’t know what will happen with Kalvin because when the transfer window is open, nobody knows.’


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