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Kalvin Phillips says Guardiola ‘overweight’ jibe was his ‘toughest moment’ as he blasts ‘there are ways to go about it’

KALVIN PHILLIPS has opened his heart on his “stressful” 18-month Manchester City hell.

And he admits: I had to leave to save my England Euros dream.

Kalvin Phillips has opened up on Pep Guardiola's 'overweight' comment at Man City

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Kalvin Phillips has opened up on Pep Guardiola’s ‘overweight’ comment at Man CityCredit: Getty
Phillips is hoping to regain his fire at West Ham while securing his Euro spot with England

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Phillips is hoping to regain his fire at West Ham while securing his Euro spot with EnglandCredit: Rex

In his first big interview since a January loan to West Ham, the Three Lions midfielder, 28, also reveals:

  •  He lost his “fire” as he spent most of his time sitting on the bench.
  • City boss Pep Guardiola shattered his confidence by blasting him for being just THREE POUNDS overweight.
  • His mum was so upset she stopped coming to games.
  •  England pal Declan Rice sold West Ham to him and he feels  “alive”  again.

Phillips confesses even the high of being part of City’s squad that won the Treble, Uefa Super Cup and Fifa World Club Cup was undermined after THREE starts across all five competitions.

And he declared: “I definitely wouldn’t have been at this summer’s Euros if I hadn’t moved in January.

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“I spoke to England boss Gareth Southgate about a few teams a month before the January window and he influenced me to stay in the Premier League rather than go abroad.

“I thought West Ham was the right place to go. You see the quality of the players with England, they are playing week in, week out.

Awkward moment Michail Antonio told of Kalvin Phillips West Ham loan live on Sky Sports as fans say ‘can’t hate the guy’

“I wanted that same feeling of playing regularly, otherwise there was definitely a chance somebody else would play instead of me and that would be gut-wrenching.

“I wanted to give myself the best chance of making the Euros.”

Signed by City in July 2022 from Leeds in a £45million deal, Phillips admits there were “down days” when he felt: “I really can’t be bothered today . . . just the same thing. Go in, train, go home and not have anything to be excited for. It was stressful.”

Guardiola’s overweight jibe after he returned from Qatar 2022 was his lowest point.

He said: “After the World Cup was probably the toughest, when Pep came out and said I was overweight. He was right to do so but there are different ways to go about it.

Phillips' mum stopped watching Man City games because he was constantly benched

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Phillips’ mum stopped watching Man City games because he was constantly benchedCredit: Getty Images – Getty
Declan Rice convinced Phillips to make the move to West Ham

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Declan Rice convinced Phillips to make the move to West HamCredit: Getty

“Pep was frustrated I didn’t come back into training early but it was just a miscommunication between the people at City and myself.

“Pep wanted me to come in the day after we finished the tournament and be involved in friendlies and stuff. I never got that information because if he asked me to be there, I would have.

“It was just a misunderstanding, he was very frustrated with me coming back 1.5kg over my target weight.

“It took a big knock on my confidence and how I felt at City. My family were not happy about it, either. Especially Mum.”

Lindsay Crosby could not bear seeing her son left out so often.

Phillips said: “She got frustrated, she didn’t come to watch as much because she didn’t like watching football without me playing.”

On Sunday, Phillips will be reunited with Rice, the man who convinced him to switch to East London and who returns to the London Stadium with his new Arsenal side after his £105m summer move.

Phillips added: “I spoke to Declan about West Ham and he said it’s a massive family club and that’s what I’m all about. I want to feel like I’m at home. West Ham was the club I wanted.”

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