The Three Lions midfielder has endured a torrid time since moving to the Etihad this summer as a shoulder injury hampered his attempts to settle into life with Pep Guardiola’s squad. The former Leeds United man made his comeback from injury six minutes into the second half of Wednesday night’s Carabao Cup win against Chelsea and will hope to play some part in Saturday’s Premier League game against Brentford.
However, Phillips has already done enough to convince Gareth Southgate he deserves a place in his squad for Qatar. The England manager was firm in his response when he was asked if the City star would miss out in the opening group stage game against Iran. Speaking at Thursday’s press conference he said: “No that’s not the case. I mean Kalvin played last night, so I think with him he’s free of injury. We are aware that he’s not going to be able to play seven 90 minutes. That won’t be possible, we’ll have to build his fitness level.
“But he’s available, he’s free of injury and we don’t really have - we have Declan Rice as a defensive midfielder, Hendo [Jordan Henderson] can play there but it’s not his No.1 position - so we don’t have a lot of cover for that role in the country and Kalvin is a super player. We feel that’s a risk worth taking because generally his fitness is good and we think he can enter the group.”
Phillips could not hide his delight as he prepares to take part in his first World Cup after playing a key role in helping England reach the final of Euro 2020. He tweeted: “Buzzing is an understatement! I’ve dreamt of the call to represent my country at the World Cup since I can remember. I can’t thank the England manager and staff enough for their faith in me, and I’ll do everything I can to repay that in Qatar. Bring on the World Cup!”