Calvin Phillips is not fit, Pep Guardiola is not happy, Rodri is still in form. The £42m move from Leeds is looking more skewed by the day.
Leeds fans must have felt a mixture of pride and uneasiness when Calvin Phillips starred for England at Euro 2020. The country sat up, took notice and realized all the fuss.
But any satisfaction in his validation was tinged with the imperative that he should not remain at Leeds any longer.
After another season at Elland Road, in which he proved his value to the team not so much through his performances, but the team’s performance without him during his long injury absence, Phillips moved to Manchester City for £42m. He has played 93 minutes of football since then.
Almost half of the game time came in the finals, where he was given minutes of pity by Gareth Southgate after being comprehensively raped by Jude Bellingham in midfield, before returning to City to be Narrated by Guardiola He is “not in the best condition to train and play”. This move didn’t really go well.
And it always seemed like an odd decision. For sure, he wants to play the Champions League and win trophies. But Manchester City has Rodri. Is Phillips so clueless that he thought he could unseat the consistently smarter defensive midfielder in the Premier League in the past two seasons? It’s not as if this is a role Guardiola tends to rotate.
Fernandinho played near every minute that was available to her before Rodri’s arrival. To play football games as a defensive midfielder for Guardiola, you have to be the best defensive midfielder. City had three other players in that position in Guardiola’s time at the club – Fernando, Fabian Delph and Douglas Luiz – who combined to start eight Premier League matches in this position, for 907 minutes in Guardiola’s 46-game run. Half seasons at the club. It was Fernandinho, then Rodri.
Phillips has been sidelined through injury for the majority of the season, which explains why he has played so little, but if he was hoping to break into the team before Rodri is now injury-free, he’s doing it wrong. a report He points out that after returning to City unfit, the 27-year-old is “prepared for a prolonged absence” from the squad after Guardiola was “ruled out”. he claimed ‘He faces a big battle to win back Guardiola’s luck in the second half of the season.”
After that it was the The Leeds man, and during Euro 2020, in England, Phillips barely scored in Manchester City, and it does not seem that he will do so soon. Even if Rodri is injured now, John Stones or Ilkay Gundogan would be ahead of Phillips as options to replace him. And he is poised to give Bellingham a brief look on international duty, if he can convince Southgate he deserves a place in the squads to beat the competition who are sure to be played more regularly at club level.
Phillips should never have moved to Manchester City, and less than six months later, he may regret that decision. He won’t leave in January but maybe he should, as he’s not even fighting the losing battle with Rodri to start under Guardiola, whose only defensive midfield headache is how he can get his first-choice every minute of every game.
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