Pep Guardiola gives blunt response on Kalvin Phillips absence but waxes lyrical about Man City teenager Rico Lewis after edging Carabao Cup thriller against Liverpool

    Pep Guardiola has revealed Manchester City and England midfielder Kalvin Phillips was not fit when he arrived back from the World Cup.

    Phillips was a surprise omission from the City squad for the 3-2 win over Liverpool in the Carabao Cup on Thursday night.

    It was thought Phillips had returned to full fitness

    Getty

    It was thought Phillips had returned to full fitness

    But Guardiola insists that is not the case

    Getty

    But Guardiola insists that is not the case

    The 27-year-old has only played 54 minutes for the Premier League champions since his £42million move from Leeds due to injury.

    After recovering from a shoulder problem, Phillips made two substitute appearances for England before their quarter-final exit in Qatar.

    However, with the rest of City’s England players on the bench on Thursday night, Phillips was left out – and Guardiola appeared unhappy when explaining the reason why.

    “Kalvin Phillips is not fit. He did not arrive in the best condition to train and play,” said the City boss.

    In contrast, Guardiola was left purring over the performance of City academy star Rico Lewis.

    The 18-year-old defender delivered a performance which left his manager tipping him for superstardom in years to come.

    Lewis played above his years

    Getty

    Lewis played above his years

    “First-half, the academy boys played really well,” Guardiola told Sky Sports. “It’s been a long time I’ve seen a performance like Rico Lewis, a long, long time ago.

    “He’s 17 or 18 years old and has played against Liverpool, against big stars up front.

    “The way he played with and without the ball, we are incredibly lucky to have this player for the next decade.

    “Hopefully the club can take him, the game he played was exceptional.”

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