Kalvin Phillips’ career at Manchester City hasn’t gone according to plan, but Pep Guardiola could still offer him a lifeline at the Etihad Stadium.
Since swapping Leeds United for the Etihad Stadium in 2022, the deep-lying playmaker has made just 14 Premier League appearances for the reigning champions.
He was demoted to playing second fiddle to Rodri and Ilkay Gundogan last season, while Mateo Kovacic’s arrival from Chelsea this summer denied him a chance to take the ex-captain’s place.
But injuries to Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva, coupled with Rodri’s three-game ban after receiving a red card against Nottingham Forest, could hand the 27-year-old an opportunity to reignite his Man City career.
With Kovacic only recently recovering from injury, Phillips has emerged as a viable candidate to replace the Spanish midfielder in tonight’s League Cup clash against Newcastle United.
Guardiola has admitted he’d like to help the holding midfielder rediscover his stellar form at Elland Road and deliver high-quality performances similar to those he put on under Marcelo Bielsa.
“We brought Kalvin here for his quality,” the Spaniard told Man City’s official website in the build-up to the game.
“There are no twins in football – every player has their own personality and qualities.
“Marcelo gave Kalvin the best Kalvin in his career. I’d love to have done with Kalvin what Marcelo has done to him.
“It is what it is. We have a specific way to play and sometimes they struggle with a few things, but in the previous game, he was perfect.
“His biggest quality is he’s always open-minded and wants to learn. This is what we will try to do.”
Man City will take on Newcastle amid a growing injury crisis, forcing Guardiola to make several alterations to the line-up that saw off Forest 2-0 at the weekend.
Phillips will likely be given a chance to start for the first time this season after racking up just 52 minutes of football across the opening nine matches of 2023/24.
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