By Ben Dinnery
There is a chance that England boss Gareth Southgate could “reward” Man City star Kalvin Phillips with a place in his World Cup squad despite his lack of minutes this term.
That is the view of medical expert Ben Dinnery, who runs the Premier Injuries site and has a background in injury and data analysis.
Phillips, 26, signed for City from Leeds United in a £42million deal in the summer, but a long-standing shoulder injury has meant he has played just 13 minutes over three substitute appearances.
The Sun‘s Martin Blackburn reported on Tuesday (27 September) that the midfielder has finally had surgery and that the operation had been a success.
He started every match as Gareth Southgate’s side reached the final of the European Championship last summer.
But the manager now admits that he is a major doubt ahead of the winter World Cup, as quoted by the Manchester Evening News last Sunday (25 September).
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Dinnery claims that there is still an outside chance that we could see Phillips in Qatar.
“I don’t think Southgate is saying anything he won’t have expected to hear,” he told Football Insider’s Adam Williams.
“His focus needs to be on Man City and getting back to playing regular football, something that hasn’t happened since his move from Leeds.
“Only then, with regular football and a high level of performance, can he realistically expect to be knocking on the door ahead of the World Cup.
“He will have that focus and motivation to prove to himself that he can get that shoulder sorted and go out and perform.
“Unfortunately, he hasn’t been able to prove the player he is first-hand at City. His loyalty has to remain with the club.
“If he performs like we know he can, maybe there is an outside chance. But it is going to be difficult. You would expect Rodri to be the first choice in that holding role. That doesn’t give him many opportunities to come in.
“But Southgate has already shown with the likes of Luke Shaw that he isn’t too put off by players who aren’t playing regular first-team football.
“So, he may be inclined to take a risk and reward players who have performed well for him in the past. But I think it’s going to be difficult.”
In other news, Man City fear Erling Haaland breakdown as new details revealed.
By Ben Dinnery