Phillips optimistic of England call-up but accepts 'there is always a doubt'

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Kalvin Phillips is optimistic of earning a place in England's World Cup squad after making his return to action, but accepts "anything can happen" due to his lack of playing time.

The midfielder has endured an injury-plagued time of things since joining Manchester City from Leeds United in the close season, featuring in just four of his side's 21 matches.

However, after a two-month spell on the sidelines with a shoulder injury, Phillips made his comeback as a substitute in Wednesday's 2-0 EFL Cup third-round win over Chelsea.

That 40-minute cameo came on the eve of Gareth Southgate naming his 26-man squad for Qatar 2022, and Phillips is hoping he has done enough to have earned a place.

"Anything can happen. I'm optimistic but I know with the amount of game time I've had there's always a doubt," he told Sky Sports when asked if he believes he will be included.

"I think with my injuries I've not been playing 100 per cent because of my shoulder. Now it's sorted I can get back to what I was before. Hopefully it'll put me in good stead."

Phillips has yet to start a game since arriving in a £45million deal, with his appearance against Chelsea his first of any sort since facing Borussia Dortmund on September 14.

The 26-year-old, who has 23 caps for England, admits he felt nervous when replacing Rodrigo early in the second period at the Etihad Stadium.

"It's an amazing feeling. It's been a long time. I'm glad to get back out there and play with the lads," he said.

"But without playing for a while, it's nerve-racking stepping onto the pitch for one of my first appearances for the club. It felt good.

"[It's been] difficult. When I first found out I needed the operation everything went out the window. I didn't feel great about the situation.

"But after a couple of days I always made sure I worked hard. I was always positive. I'm back fit now so hopefully have a chance.

"A couple of days after the operation my thought was to get back and do as much as I could to get fit. I did more sessions than I would have done to get my fitness back."

Man City host Brentford in the Premier League on Saturday in their final match ahead of the World Cup, which begins for England on November 21 with a clash against Iran.

Asked if he believes Phillips is ready to play a part in the tournament, City boss Pep Guardiola said: "There's a lot of days to go until the first game. He's ready."