England midfielder Kalvin Phillips has candidly revealed the challenges he faced during his time at Manchester City, describing it as “stressful,” while expressing his renewed sense of vigor since joining West Ham United on loan.
Phillips, 28, made headlines with his £42 million transfer from Leeds United to Manchester City in 2022. However, his tenure at the Etihad Stadium was marred by limited playing time and criticism from manager Pep Guardiola regarding his weight, which significantly impacted his confidence.
Reflecting on his City experience, Phillips disclosed to the Observer, “The game wasn’t letting me down, but the fact I had nothing to look forward to kind of pushed me away.” He expressed relief at his move to West Ham, emphasizing how it revitalized his passion for the game: “Now I’m here at West Ham and playing, I feel a lot more alive.”
Guardiola’s criticism of Phillips’ weight after the 2022 World Cup was particularly hard-hitting for the midfielder. “After the World Cup was probably the toughest, when Pep came out and said I was overweight,” Phillips admitted. “He was right to do so, but there are different ways to go about it.”
Despite winning the Treble and the Club World Cup with City, Phillips found himself relegated to a fringe role, accruing a mere 380 Premier League minutes before departing on loan last month. Describing his stint at City, Phillips clarified, “It wasn’t a nightmare at City, it was just stressful.”
Phillips, eyeing a spot in England’s squad for the upcoming European Championship, consulted with national team manager Gareth Southgate before opting for West Ham over other potential destinations, including Juventus and Newcastle. Insight from fellow England midfielder Declan Rice, a former West Ham player, and discussions with Hammers boss David Moyes ultimately swayed his decision.
“I felt like if I wasn’t going to play at City, I want to go to a club where I’m wanted,” Phillips remarked, emphasizing the importance of feeling valued in his new environment.