Pep Guardiola reveals Man City player is ‘ready’ to make his first start in Southampton clash

The Manchester City manager has hinted at one player who could be in his starting line-up for the Carabao Cup tie.
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Pep Guardiola has hinted that Kalvin Phillips could make his first start as a Manchester City player in Wednesday night’s Carabao Cup clash with Southampton.

The former Leeds United star moved to the Etihad in the summer and has struggled with a persistent shoulder injury which ruled him out for the majority of the early months of the campaign. Prior to a Carabao Cup win over Chelsea on 9 November, Phillips had played just 14 competitive minutes for the club since signing. Phillips had hoped to kick on after returning from the World Cup, but he hasn’t been selected to start in any of the five games since, with Guardiola oddly claiming he returned ‘overweight’ from international duty and said he didn’t have the required fitness to train.

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However, having come off the bench in the last two matches, Guardiola implied last week that Phillips would be available to start against Southampton, something he reiterated on Tuesday. “He is ready,” the Catalan responded, when asked if Phillips could start in the quarter-final tie at St Mary’s. “Of course, I think he needed time for tactical aspects, but he is ready. We are delighted with that.

“I think he is an intelligent player, normally holding midfielders are so intelligent,” Guardiola added. “He has an incredible work ethic in the training training session.

“He was educated at Leeds with Marcelo Bielsa and Jesse Marsch, but especially with Marcelo and the commitment to every training session and game. There are patterns and movements that you need time and games but unfortunately he arrived this season and was injured. He could not be there but step by step, he will get it.”

Asked about the challenges of adapting to City’s style of play, Guardiola said, in his view, it is not difficult for players to meet his demands. “For me it is not hard,” he said.

“The way we play is so simple; run without the ball to help each other, be in the positions to get the ball in a better a condition than if you are not in the right position.”

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