Kalvin Phillips is now a doubt for the World Cup after it was revealed the Manchester City midfielder may require surgery on a shoulder problem.
The 26-year-old was included in Gareth Southgate’s squad for upcoming Nations League games with Italy and Germany. That was despite a lack of playing time for City in the early part of the season. Phillips has played just a single minute of Premier League football this term.
And with only 12 minutes of action across two Champions League games as well, his England selection was by no means a formality. However, Southgate opted for the man who was so influential during England’s march to the final of 2020.
The former Leeds United schemer had been given an opportunity to show he was ready for action. However, he will play no part in the upcoming international break.
Details of Phillips’s recovery period are still sketchy but he faces a race against time to be fit for Qatar. The tournament begins on November 20, with England facing Iran in their opening clash a day later.
Phillips partnership with Declan Rice anchored England’s success in 2021. He is clearly one of Southgate’s favourites after being selected despite being on the Etihad peripheries.
But the manager will now need to look elsewhere. Phillips was left out of the squad for City’s 3-0 victory over Wolves on Saturday.
And he could now go under the surgeon’s knife to correct what has been an ongoing problem. Although the injury reportedly occurred during Thursday’s training, the Leeds-born ace has struggled with his shoulder for some time.
It seems as though he might not be able to carry on without an operation. All at Manchester City and in the England camp will hope the influential star is soon back on the pitch.
Phillips crucial to England cause
Pep Guardiola moved for Phillips during the summer, with the champions paying Leeds around £42m for his signature. That was despite his injury-hit campaign of 2021-2022 when he missed three months with a thigh issue.
A lack of game time this term may have become an issue, with City possessing such an array of stars. But the prospect of surgery is far more worrying as the midfield ace now faces a period on the sidelines.
Southgate opted to bed Rice and Phillips in together for Euro 2020 and it certainly paid off. England looked a solid unit and, while there were questions about their creativity, the pairing certainly worked.
And there is every reason to suggest that the former Middlesbrough chief would repeat the dose later this year. He will name his provisional squad for the Middle East showpiece on October 21.
Phillips would have been a certainty to have been in that party. But all concerned must now sweat on his fitness over the next few weeks.