Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola is primed to get back on the scent of table-topping Arsenal under former assistant coach Mikel Arteta as the reigning Premier League champions prepare to clash with Leeds United at Elland Road on Wednesday evening.
City sits five points behind the young table-topping Gunners who will have their title credentials stretched to the limits in the wake of a long-term injury suffered by Gabriel Jesus while on international duty with Brazil at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, but one player in Guardiola’s ranks that is likely to not be available for the resumption of play in England’s top flight is Three Lions midfielder, Kalvin Phillips.
According to Guardiola himself (in quotes sourced from Mail Sport through CityXtra), the former Leeds United star is injury free but has returned to camp overweight. The Spanish tactician could give no further details and remained bemused as to why the 27-year-old arrived back in the condition in which he did, stating that Phillips was not only able to play but also unable to effectively participate in training sessions.
It is another source of frustration surrounding Phillips after a summer move from his boyhood club where he built a reputation as one of the top English midfielders in the Premier League under Marcelo Bielsa and a key figure in Leeds’ promotion from the Championship and credible first season back in the English top flight.
Having made just one appearance in the league this season in a one-minute cameo in their opening 2-0 win over West Ham United to kickstart the season, Phillips has only ever featured on two other occasions for a grand total of just 53-minutes of action across all competitions.
Though he may still be able to rescue his career at the Etihad Stadium, at current, the ~£43million that City splashed for his services constitutes one of the worst pieces of business the club has negotiated during Guardiola’s reign.