Kalvin Phillips: I jumped at the chance to work with Pep and prove myself for World Cup

Phillips excited to work under Guardiola after joining Man City

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Phillips, 26, allowed his head to rule his heart when he left boyhood club Leeds to join the Premier League champions in a deal worth £45million. He believes Guardiola will make him a better player with a World Cup looming.

But the Catalan has less than a year on his contract – and after reconstructing the team that lifted the title for the fourth time in five seasons, the hope at the Etihad is that Guardiola will stick around to see it flourish.

His position is unique. City will not push him to reveal his plans. His close relationship with chief executive Ferran Soriano and sporting director Txiki Begiristain means there is a rare trust between them.

Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak has also said he is happy for Guardiola to take his time to decide what to do.

Phillips, taking time out of City’s pre-season tour of the United States to talk about his move, said: “It was about the opportunity to be coached by Pep, even if it’s just for a year. Hopefully [it will be] longer. I know he’s a great manager and that he’ll elevate my game.

“I’ll be involved in a team fighting for trophies, and just to be around these players makes you a better player. The opportunity I was given was one I couldn’t turn down. Even if Pep’s only here for one more year, hopefully it will be a good one.”

Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko have gone from the Etihad, while Phillips, Erling Haaland and Julian Alvarez have arrived.

Phillips said: “That’s the reason Pep’s done so well. He’s always freshened up his teams and brought in new faces.

“You need to do that. You can’t keep the same team across many years, because you can’t expect to keep winning.

“The signings will hopefully help the team go to the next level.” For City, that is winning the Champions League after a decade of domestic domination.

Phillips’ first challenge will be to break into the team, which proved a struggle for £100m buy Jack Grealish last season.

If he can get minutes playing alongside Rodri, his chances of starting for England in Qatar will improve considerably.

Phillips said: “At Leeds, I was always the guy that needed to play. That isn’t the case here. There are some amazing players here and I need to push myself to be in that bracket.

“I spoke to Gareth Southgate about teams interested in me, but we didn’t speak about the World Cup.

“It’s a risk/reward thing. I want to prove myself against the best players in the world. If I do, great. If I don’t, obviously things aren’t going to plan.

“I’m just looking forward to playing my first game for City.”

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