Ex-Man City favourite ‘convinced’ Kalvin Phillips will be a key player for England at World Cup 2022

The Manchester City midfielder recently returned from a shoulder injury and is part of England’s 26-man squad at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Former Manchester City favourite Nigel De Jong is ‘convinced’ Kalvin Phillips can be a key player for the club and England. The midfielder joined the Sky Blues from Leeds United for £45m in the summer and is expected to play a huge role in their title defence this season.

Phillips made just three appearances for Pep Guardiola’s side this campaign before suffering a shoulder injury which required surgery. Following a successful procedure, the 26-year-old made his return during City’s 2-0 League Cup third round win against Chelsea on November 9, coming on as a second-half substitute.

The midfielder impressed at previous club Leeds, earning himself his international debut for England. He was one of the Three Lions’ standout players during the 2020 European Championships and was also voted their 2020-21 Player of the Year.

Phillips’ return against Chelsea came at a great time, earning him a call-up to England’s 26-man World Cup squad in Qatar this month. He didn’t feature in their 6-2 win over Iran in their Group B opening game on Monday, but could gain minutes in future fixtures against Wales and the United States.

“I’m a big fan of Kalvin Phillips,” De Jong told the Sky Blues’ official website. “I’ve seen him with Leeds and also at Euro 2020 and he was one of the outstanding players for England.

“I’m convinced he’s going to be a great player for City and the England national team. He’s still got a lot of years ahead of him. I love his style of play because he is also sometimes a no-nonsense player when it comes to tackling and not shying away from 50/50 challenges, but also being technically gifted still to be a playmaker.

“This is what you’re looking for as a manager to have the best of both worlds and he does definitely have the best of both worlds. For him it’s really good now to have the understanding how to get fit as soon as possible and get to his level again - and then get the confidence from the coach.

“That’s the great thing about Pep, he takes his time with his players and makes them understand that they can be important for the club. He’ll be a massive asset for City. I really like him. When he’s fit and when he plays, he’ll be on my team sheet every day of the week.”

Phillips could be in line for his fifth City appearance when they face Liverpool in the fourth round of the League Cup on December 22 - just four days after the World Cup final. The midfielder will be hoping to gain match fitness during the international competition ahead of the second half of the season.