The 26-year-old has played just 14 minutes in all competitions this season due to an ongoing shoulder injury which required surgery in September. Phillips has not played at all since 14 September and faces a race against time to regain his fitness ahead of the World Cup.
Pep Guardiola has been asked repeated questions about the fitness of Phillips and City team-mate Kyle Walker, and Guardiola confirmed on Sunday that Phillips would be involved in some capacity when City play Chelsea on Wednesday night in the Carabao Cup.
That match will come less than 24 hours before Gareth Southgate selects his 26-man squad for Qatar, and Phillips is hopeful he can be among those who are selected by the Three Lions’ boss, while he also provided a positive update on his fitness levels.
“After my first full-contact session back, he [Guardiola] took me to one side for a chat after and told me he was going to try and get me some minutes against Chelsea which is a real positive,” Phillis said on BBC Radio 5 Live on Monday.
“He knows I need to be out there playing football for Manchester City and try to be involved with England at the World Cup. It’s funny because I had a full-contact session the other day which was fine, but two days before that I trained in what wasn’t meant to be a full-contact session, but because of the intensity it ended up that way and I must have fallen or been knocked over three or four times!
“The first time I fell on my shoulder I sort of froze for a moment, but it actually gave me a lot of confidence because it was absolutely fine. Gareth reassured me in a way because he said as long as you’re fit enough and proved you can progress, there was a chance I’d be selected.”
Asked if he was going to the World Cup, Phillips responded: “I’m not too sure, because the squad list hasn’t come out yet, but I’m very hopeful it’s an option that I can be involved, but we’ll have to wait and see. I feel like I’m progressing really well, and my shoulder feels absolutely great.
“I don’t know if there will be an element of risk [if I’m selected]. I’m very strong mentally and you have to be being in football in this day and age. If I’m called up, I’ll do everything I can to be ready to do my best.”