'Hard to take' - Kalvin Phillips reveals mental toll of being called overweight by Man City boss Pep Guardiola

Kalvin Phillips 2022-23Getty
  • Phillips barely featured for City
  • Guardiola said he was "overweight"
  • Midfielder was affected by criticism

WHAT HAPPENED? Guardiola said in December that Phillips was overweight when he returned from World Cup duty with England and said that was the reason he was being left out of the team. Phillips insists he was not too heavy and that the situation was simply a misunderstanding. Less than a week after his initial comments, Guardiola joked that Phillips "has the perfect body, so sexy".

WHAT THEY SAID: "To be honest, [the criticism] was a little hard to take, just because of how much it was oversized and how many people started talking about it," he told BBC Radio 5 Live. "I know the manager made his comments but I respected them. I, for me, wasn't overweight, but obviously the manager saw it in a different way. I took it, did my best to try and get as fit as possible and I was on the bench for the Leeds game straight after that.

"I was fit for every game since then. It was just one of those things where it was a misunderstanding between me and some staff members. You will see a lot more of it in the documentary and how I got into it all."

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THE BIGGER PICTURE: Phillips joined City from Leeds last summer but had a hard time convincing Guardiola to give him a chance. He featured just 12 times in the Premier League in 2022-23 but started just two of those matches, with Guardiola explaining that he had failed to adapt to City's playing style.


Kalvin Phillips Manchester City 2022-23GettyPep Guardiola Manchester City 2022-23Getty ImagesPep Guardiola Kalvin Phillips 2022-23Getty

WHAT NEXT FOR PHILLIPS? The 27-year-old recently said he wants to discuss his future with Guardiola despite insisting he wants to stay, while Liverpool were linked with making a summer bid to sign him from City this summer.