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Other SportsPhillips: Manchester City stint 'pushed me away' from football

Phillips: Manchester City stint ‘pushed me away’ from football

Kalvin Phillips has revealed his 18-month stint at Manchester City negatively affected his relationship with football, though he feels “more alive” after joining West Ham on loan for the remainder of the season.

Phillips left his boyhood club Leeds United for City in 2022, but he struggled for regular gametime from the outset of his spell at the Etihad Stadium.

The England midfielder made 21 appearances across all competitions as City won the treble last season, though 17 of those outings came from the bench.

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Phillips fell even further down the pecking order ahead of the 2023-24 campaign as City acquired Matheus Nunes and Mateo Kovacic following Ilkay Gundogan’s move to Barcelona, and he played just 93 minutes in the Premier League across the first half of the season.

City boss Pep Guardiola apologised for his treatment of Phillips ahead of the January transfer window, when he joined West Ham on a straight loan deal despite interest from Newcastle United.

“Now I’m here at West Ham and playing, I feel a lot more alive,” Phillips told The Observer. “I still loved the game, it [his time with City] just changed my way of thinking a little bit.

“The game wasn’t letting me down but the fact I had nothing to look forward to kind of pushed me away.

“Now I’m here, I feel a lot more alive. It’s not starting from scratch, it’s starting afresh.”

 

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The low point of Phillips’ short-lived spell with City came after he returned from the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, when Guardiola said he was “overweight” and not in the neccessary condition to train or play.

“It wasn’t a nightmare at City, it was just stressful,” Phillips said. “After the World Cup was probably the toughest, when Pep came out and said I was overweight.

“He was right to do so but there are different ways to go about it. I did not disagree with him but obviously I took a big knock to my confidence.

“My family were not happy about it, either, especially my mum. It was just a misunderstanding and I think he was very frustrated with me coming back 1.5kg over my weight target.”

Harry Carr
Harry Carr
Harry is a freelance sports journalist with experience of working for the Racing Post, Stats Perform, Opta Analyst and more, covering major events across all sports but holding a particular love for the beautiful game.
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