KALVIN PHILLIPS dropped a clanger that almost wrecked his Qatar hopes.
Then he risked it all by letting a 5kg weight fall on his foot ahead of City’s clash with Brentford last week!
The midfielder, who has cut up his left flip-flop to stop it rubbing on the wound, said: “It’s a good story to be honest!
“So before that game, being the professional I am, I went to the gym before the match and was just doing loads of Achilles work on the leg press.
“I’d gone to pull a weight off the rack and there must have been one stuck behind it and I pulled it off and it landed on my foot and cut it all.
“I stood for about ten seconds and thought, ‘Oh my God — what was that?’
“If it wasn’t a 5kg plate, if it had been heavier, I think it would have been a lot worse.
“Imagine that, that is what you get for being professional!
“But it’s not too bad, the blisters from training hurt more.”
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The pair had both worked hard to recover from injuries and Phillips, who returned to action as a sub in the Carabao Cup against Chelsea earlier this month, said: “Kyle had been told the day before me.
“I walked in the gym and Kyle said, ‘Gareth’s just rung me and said I’m in.’
“I was thinking, ‘Well, if he’s ringing all the injured players telling him they’re involved, why hasn’t he rung me?’
“Then I got a phone call about half-nine the next day when I was at City.
“Gareth asked how I was and I asked him how he was and he said, ‘A lot better for seeing you play for 40 minutes’, and then told me I was involved.”
It was advice from City boss Pep Guardiola which persuaded Phillips to have surgery in September on the shoulder he first dislocated at Leeds in 2020.
Phillips said: “He didn’t force me to get the operation but said he felt it was the best thing to have the best chance to go to the World Cup.
“And when Pep tells you something like that then you’re not going to ignore it.”
Phillips is pleased with the results of the operation carried out by Manchester-based surgeon Dr Lennard Funk, whose previous satisfied customers include England and Newcastle keeper Nick Pope.
Fans of a certain age will also remember what happened when another England midfield dynamo decided not to have surgery for the same kind of problem before a World Cup.
Three Lions skipper Bryan Robson dislocated a shoulder in March 1986, then decided not to have an operation for fear of missing the tournament.
But it popped out again in a friendly against Mexico and again in the second group game against Morocco, producing the famous image of him being helped from the field in agony.
Southgate regards Phillips as a similarly important player and one he could not leave out — despite the fact he has not started a game for City since his summer switch from Leeds.
The midfielder was England’s player of the year for 2021 and his ability to replicate his form from last year’s Euros may be crucial to the Three Lions’ hopes in Qatar.
Phillips said: “It wasn’t a case of, ‘If you’re fit then you’ll go’ from Gareth.
“He basically told me whatever decision I took, I needed to be 100 percent about it and if I recovered well there was always a chance I’d be involved.
“So there was a little bit of reassurance.
“But I was thinking that if I’m not playing games — and other players in my position are competing and doing really well — then it would be tough. But thankfully I made it.”
And thankfully for the star — it was only a 5kg weight he dropped on his foot.