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Man City fan tells how penny dropped on Phillips

Phil Gibson is a lifelong Manchester City season-ticket holder from Wythenshawe in Manchester and here explains how the penny dropped on Kalvin Phillips at the club and maybe why Pep Guardiola allowed him his move to West Ham.

Man City fan tells how penny dropped on Phillips

There was a moment for Manchester City fans when they finally saw the penny drop – Kalvin Phillips just wasn’t good enough for Pep Guardiola’s Treble winners.

Man City fan tells how penny dropped on Phillips

City had been dumped out of the Carabao Cup last season away at Southampton and Phillips had been given a rare start to prove himself.

Man City fan tells how penny dropped on Phillips

It’s fair to say Phillips didn’t exactly grasp the opportunity and looked like a little boy lost in City’s engine room, he was hooked after the break.

City fans were left scratching their heads as to how an England international could not even do the basics, never mind carry out the tactical nuances that someone like Guardiola demands of his midfielders.
Every second touch was a tackle, a clumsy one at that. Phillips’ chances to shine generally came in Cup competitions, against lesser opponents, and it was always the same story.
Here was a player supposedly with a point to prove, had had his feet up and should have been as fit as a fiddle, but he was always a yard short, a second too slow.
Phillips arrived for what seemed liked a bargain £42m from Leeds United in 2022 and and apparently  able to provide some rest for the outstanding Rodri.
He had missed the last four months of the season at Elland Road before his big move and maybe that should have been a red flag.
Within weeks of his summer arrival, Phillips required an operation on a shoulder problem and City wrapped him in cotton wool so he would achieve his dream of going to the World Cup with England.
So imagine the consternation from Pep when Kalvin returned three pounds overweight. Fans started to ask even more questions.
The writing was on the wall and it was made clear by City they would not stand in his way of a move away from the Club after they completed an historic Treble last season.
Loan inquiries came in from Irons and Newcastle United, but Phillips turned them down and asked Pep if he could wait until this January because his partner was pregnant and didn’t want to be unsettled.
Late cameos from Phillips in the Premier League earlier this season only further made for a painful watch, with Pep seemingly joining in with the crowd at one point,  throwing his arms up in the air after Phillips failed to recognise a simple return pass.
Everyone at City was pleased for Kalvin to get a chance to play when the Hammers took him on loan last month, David Moyes has always been admirer.
All the talk before his City move was Phillips had learned under Marcelo Biesla, but the majority of his displays under the South American were in the Championship.
There was his impressive showings at the European Championships, but he also had the double pivot protection of having a Declan Rice alongside.
Guardiola always maintained he was to blame for not getting the best from Phillips, although the player was honest enough to admit that he also struggled to understand some of the tactical instructions.
Truth is, no City fan can really say how good Phillips is, but they saw enough when he did play to wonder at what level in the Premier League he will ultimately thrive again?
Irons have an option to buy for around £40m but it might have to be the case City accept less, certainly if they return to trigger Lucas Paqueta’s £85m release in the summer.
 

About Hugh5outhon1895

Hugh Southon is a lifelong Iron and the founding editor of ClaretandHugh. He is a national newspaper journalist of many years experience and was Bobby Moore's 'ghost' writer during the great man's lifetime. He describes ClaretandHugh as "the Hammers daily newspaper!" Follow on Twitter @hughsouthon

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