- Both players have been injured recently
- Phillips may feature before World Cup
- But Walker won't
WHAT HAPPENED? Gareth Southgate and England supporters will be hoping that the two Manchester City players will be available by the time the World Cup begins. Guardiola confirmed that the pair are expecting to be fit but their chances of building pre-tournament fitness are rapidly running out.
WHAT HE SAID: Speaking prior to his side's trip to face Leicester, the Spaniard said: “They are better, I think they are getting better, Kalvin especially, but they are out. Until after the World Cup, they will not be ready [for City]."
Despite delivering that statement, Guardiola soon altered his comments on Phillips' fitness prospects, he added: “His mobility in the shoulder is perfect. He’s started to train in contact with the ball. He has to avoid contact with teammates but he’s really well. We’re surprised at how quick his development [has been].
“If he’s fit then I believe he can play [at the World Cup]. If he’s ready he can maybe take minutes [for City before] but I don’t know right now. We’ll see."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: When fit, both Walker and Phillips have been regular starters in Southgate's England side. The latter may have recently fallen behind Jude Bellingham in the pecking order but he will still be a big miss for the Three Lions boss if he misses the tournament in Qatar.
IN TWO PHOTOS:
WHAT NEXT FOR WALKER AND PHILLIPS? In a word: rehab. Phillips will be hoping to get some minutes under his belt for Manchester City before his potential inclusion in the squad, while Walker will be solely focused on returning to full fitness without the benefit of any pre-World Cup game time.