Richard Keys has hit out at Pep Guardiola for labelling Kalvin Phillips “overweight” – accusing him of failing to tarnish Sergio Aguero with the same brush. The Manchester City boss ruthlessly explained his assessment of the England defensive midfielder following his return from the World Cup in Qatar.
Unlike John Stones, Phil Foden and Jack Grealish, who both featured in the 3-2 Carabao Cup victory over Liverpool in midweek, Phillips was not deemed ready for selection by his manager.
“He is not injured. He arrived overweight,” declared Guardiola.
When asked why, the tactician added: “I don’t know. He didn’t arrive in the condition for the training sessions and to play.”
Posting a splash from The Mirror, Keys said on social media: “I’m wondering why Guardiola has exposed Phillips to ridicule for this ‘crime’.
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Aguero was also asked whether he was ever dropped from the City starting XI due to his weight, to which he responded: “Well the first season we were between fourth and third and he said ‘I left you out because you turned up fat this week.'”
Phillips’ move to the Etihad Stadium has not gone entirely to plan since he left Leeds for City in a £42million deal in July.
The central midfielder has only played 53 minutes of competitive action this season due to a shoulder injury.
But despite returning to action in November, it appears Phillips is now facing different hurdles in his quest to break into Guardiola’s side.
Rodri continues to excel in the middle of the park for the Premier League champions and Ilkay Gundogan also remains a mainstay.
Despite the remark, Guardiola made it clear that he is keen to welcome back Phillips to the squad as soon as possible.
“When he will be ready, he will play,” he added. “We need him. We need him a lot.”
It is not yet known whether Phillips will be fit to face former side Leeds on December 28.