Ex-Leeds United star Kalvin Phillips issues 82-word ‘misunderstanding’ response to Pep Guardiola media claim

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Kalvin Phillips has opened up on comments Pep Guardiola made about him being ‘overweight’

Ex-Leeds United star Kalvin Phillips has admitted Pep Guardiola’s comments on his fitness following the World Cup in Qatar were hard to take but has put them down to a misunderstanding.

The Spaniard left Phillips out of City’s Carabao Cup squad against Liverpool in the club’s first game after Argentina lifted the World Cup in the Gulf State.

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Questions arose over the ex-Leeds man’s omission, with Guardiola claiming the player was not fit before later stating: “He is not injured. He arrived overweight.”

Phillips was limited to just 21 appearances with last season’s treble winners, most of them coming from the bench. A shoulder injury kept him out of action in the first part of the campaign but he recovered in time to be named in England’s squad for their World Cup campaign.

He played just 40 minutes in Qatar as he came off the bench in the Group Stage win over Wales and the Round of 16 victory over Senegal.

When asked why the player was overweight, Guardiola replied: “I don’t know. He didn’t arrive in the condition for the training sessions and to play.”

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Phillips, speaking to BBC Five Live, has opened up on the comments made by Guardiola and insists he was not overweight as he returned to the City squad for the Premier League meeting at Elland Road on December 28.

He said: "It was probably a little hard to take because of how many people were talking about it. The manager made his comments and I respected them. For me, I wasn't overweight, but the manager has seen it very differently.

“I did my best to try to get as fit as possible and I was on the bench for the Leeds game straight after that and I was fit every game since. There was just a misunderstanding between me and some staff members.”

Phillips will feature in an Amazon Prime documentary this month. ‘Kalvin Phillips: The Road to City’ is set to air on the streaming service on July 19 and was filmed during a 12-month period to portray his journey from the Thorp Arch academy of his home-town club to a £42m move to the Etihad.

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