The Lowdown: Phillips sidelined…
Phillips has been suffering from a ‘persistent problem‘ in his shoulder which has required surgery, meaning the midfielder is in a race against time to be fit for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
The 26-year-old has just weeks to get back on the grass in time to be featured in Gareth Southgate’s plans, yet at club level, City supporters will also be hoping he can play a significant role towards the back-end of 2022/2023.
The Latest: Robinson says Phillips ‘will be gutted’…
Pep Guardiola was forced to play club captain Ilkay Gundogan in the single pivot during last weekend’s Manchester derby in the absence of Rodri and Phillips.
The latter man, you’d assume, would’ve come in to replace Rodri yet Phillips’ injury meant Gundogan had to play in a less advanced role than usual.
Former Premier League goalkeeper Paul Robinson says the ex-Elland Road star will be gutted at missing the opportunity to impress in such a big occasion.
He explained to Football Insider:
“He will be gutted.
“It has not been a good start for him at City. He has been unfortunate.
“It is always going to be difficult to break into that team. A shoulder injury is the last thing you need.
“He needs to get himself fit before the World Cup. He needs to play games.
“Gundogan is an outstanding player but Phillips would have quite likely replaced Rodri for the Manchester derby had he been fit. It would have been the ideal time for him to start a game. It’s a shame.”
The Verdict: Very unlucky…
Phillips has been unlucky since his big money move from Yorkshire, mainly due to his fitness issues but also because he has to contend with Rodri for a starting place.
Last weekend’s derby would’ve been an unbelievable opportunity to impress in the Spaniard’s absence, yet due to being unavailable, the Three Lions ace was forced to watch as Gundogan thrived in the position.
Once Phillips is available again, it will certainly be interesting to see if he can battle past two star City mainstays for regular football – especially given his reputation as a ‘top player’.