Pep Guardiola has revealed Kalvin Phillips could be back in Manchester City action before England fly out to the World Cup.
The City manager disclosed midfielder Phillips will be a substitute for City's EFL Cup game against Chelsea on Wednesday.
Although he has not promised Phillips will come off the bench, the former Leeds United star is now at the stage of his recovery from a shoulder injury where first-team duty is a possibility once more.
The news will be cautiously welcomed by England boss Gareth Southgate, for whom Phillips has been a key figure when fit.
Guardiola said Phillips took part in a full training session on Friday and "felt good".
“Against Chelsea he will be on the bench, whether to play or not I don't know, but he will be on the bench. Kalvin is much better," Guardiola said.
Kyle Walker, who underwent groin surgery four weeks ago, is another City player looking to prove his fitness ahead of England's Qatar 2022 trip.
"I spoke with Kyle and he feels good too, but his surgery was later than Kalvin, that's why I don’t know," Guardiola said.
Southgate would ideally want both Phillips and Walker on the plane, but only if they are in shape to make a full contribution, and doubts remain over both players for now.
Guardiola is making no promises, saying: "I don't know. I spoke with Gareth Southgate 10 or 12 days ago.
"We had a chat, a coffee, him and his assistant, and we talked about them, he spoke with them and the doctors.
"He asked [about Kalvin and Kyle] and I said, 'I don't know, I'm not a doctor'."
Guardiola savoured his team's win against Fulham on Saturday, when substitute Erling Haaland's stoppage-time penalty secured a 2-1 home success.
City had played from 10 men from the 26th minute onwards after Joao Cancelo was red-carded for bundling over Harry Wilson to give away a spot-kick, which Andreas Pereira converted to cancel out Julian Alvarez's early opener.
Guardiola said his remaining players were "exceptional" and made him "so, so proud".
He reserved special praise for man of the match Kevin De Bruyne, saying the Belgian playmaker "put the team on his shoulders".
According to Guardiola, Cancelo should not have felt the need to clatter into Wilson and should have put his trust in goalkeeper Ederson.
"He deserved the red," Guardiola said, according to City's official website. "I say many times to all the players, outside the box after 85 minutes make a foul. But [at that stage of the game], let them score. Okay 1-1, penalty 1-1, but 10 v 11 is too much.
"Hopefully we can learn, not Joao, all of us. It happens in football - if you lose the duel with the striker, it can happen, rely on Eddie, he can save it."