Man City told how Kalvin Phillips can help them do what Liverpool couldn’t, as Raheem Sterling cops bizarre flak
Pablo Zabaleta has explained how Kalvin Phillips can help Man City challenge for “all the trophies”, and aimed a curious dig at Chelsea new boy, Raheem Sterling.
Phillips moved to the Etihad for an initial £42m earlier in July. The former Leeds United talisman was the main man in midfield at Elland Road, though now becomes just one of many big names at Manchester City.
Indeed, City’s midfield is filled to the brim with superstar names, not least Rodri who will be Phillips’ direct competitor for regular game-time.
Rodri has developed into the perfect holding midfielder in recent seasons. As such, few would be surprised to see Phillips rooted to the bench more often than not next season.
However, a club with the ambitions of Man City are always competing on multiple fronts. As Liverpool showed last season, going deep into four competitions can churn out over 60 matches across all competitions.
The Reds hoovered up the two domestic cups, though fell agonisingly short in both the Premier League and Champions League.
Now, speaking to Man City’s official website, former right-back Pablo Zabaleta explained how Phillips can help City to potentially go one better and lift three or even four trophies.
Kalvin Phillips to increase quadruple chances?
“Kalvin Phillips was playing number six at Leeds,” said the Argentine.
“Sometimes it’s different when you play with two in midfield but as a one in front of the back four it’s a very similar role to what Rodri’s been doing.
“If you want to challenge for all the trophies, you need a big squad, two big players in each position to give the manager a chance to rotate and have more options.
“He’s a great signing, an English lad, he knows the league well and for him to come to Manchester City is a big move.”
A player of Phillips’ calibre will ensure Pep Guardiola’s side do not dip in quality when Rodri is rotated.
What’s more, with five substitutions now available to Premier League managers, Phillips and Rodri may find themselves interchanging mid-match.
Raheem Sterling not a Man City legend – Zabaleta
In a separate interview, Zabaleta surprisingly took a swipe at former City forward, Raheem Sterling.
Sterling’s tenure at City concluded at the seven-year mark last week upon joining Chelsea for £47.5m.
Sterling played a major part in helping City to establish themselves as a dominant force in England during his time in Manchester. However, Zabaleta took aim at the manner in which he left the club despite penning a heartfelt letter to City fans on social media before leaving.
“The moment that you leave you always need to talk nicely to the club that you’ve been playing for… I wish he could behave in that way,” said Zabaleta.
Regarding whether Sterling can be classified a Man City legend, Zabaleta was having none of it.
“For me when I say legend, Aguero, Silva, Kompany… those guys are on a different level.
“That’s why they have statues outside of the club.”