Shearer claims ‘strange’ Guardiola wanted to ’embarrass’ Man City star with ‘overweight’ dig

Shearer on Man City Credit: Alamy
Shearer on Man City Credit: Alamy

Alan Shearer thinks Man City boss Pep Guardiola may have wanted to “embarrass” Kalvin Phillips by claiming that he returned from the World Cup “unfit”.

Phillips signed for Manchester City in the summer from Leeds United for a fee in the region of £42m.

His career at Man City has not really got going yet as he has been unavailable for much of this season as a result of a shoulder injury.

The Englishman was fit enough to go to the World Cup but he only played for 40 times in Qatar as Gareth Southgate’s side reached the quarter-finals.

Phillips was not named in Man City’s squad as they beat Liverpool 3-2 in the Carabao Cup last week.

When asked why the midfielder was not involved, Guardiola said: “He’s not injured. He arrived overweight. I don’t know (why). He didn’t arrive in the condition to do training sessions and to play.”

Guardiola is known to be harsh when it comes to the weight of his players. He famously outed Sergio Aguero when the forward was deemed to be slightly overweight.

Some have argued that Guardiola has been too harsh with his assessment of Phillips’ fitness.

Richard Keys believes it is “strange” that the head coach opted to “ridicule” the England international.

“I’m wondering why Guardiola has exposed Phillips to ridicule for this ‘crime’,” Keys wrote on Twitter.

“Never a word when he used to leave [Sergio] Aguero out for the same offence. Strange.”

Phillips was subsequently named among the substitutes for City’s trip to Elland Road to face Leeds United on Wednesday night.

Before this Premier League clash, Alan Shearer indicated that Guardiola may be trying to “embarrass” Phillips.

“I was surprised,” Shearer said on Amazon Prime ahead of Man City’s game against Leeds on Wednesday night.

“I don’t know why he said it – I’m guessing there must have been a reason.

“Maybe embarrass him to a certain extent – has he been disappointed in his attitude? Whether he’s firing something back at him.

“It hasn’t gone as well as one would hope – whether that be for injury or some other reason. There must be a reason.”

Guardiola may not be happy with Phillips at the moment, but he is a fan of City teenager Rico Lewis.

The right-back impressed in the win over Liverpool and he was named in the starting eleven against Leeds.

Speaking pre-match, Guardiola suggested that it “would not be fair” to leave Lewis out after how he played against Liverpool.

“The way he played against Liverpool, would be unfair not to let him play again,” Guardiola told Amazon Prime.

“Almost impossible to play better than him. He’s 18 years old, there will be mistakes. But I had the feeling he has to play again. We need Kyle and Joao as soon as possible. In that moment I see he’s in a perfect position to play.”

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