Phillips was surprisingly not in City’s matchday squad for Thursday night’s victory over Liverpool in the Carabao Cup.
While none of the Three Lions’ Qatar squad were in the Citizens’ starting XI, Kyle Walker, John Stones, Jack Grealish and Phil Foden were all named as substitutes, with the latter three coming off the bench in the 3-2 win.
Phillips has managed just 53 minutes for Guardiola’s side since moving from Leeds to the Etihad in the summer, thanks to a bad shoulder injury.
He also played just 40 minutes for England at the World Cup, as Gareth Southgate’s men crashed out at the quarter-final stage to France.
One reasonably assumed that his absence against Liverpool was once again injury related, given how the defensive midfielder has struggled for fitness in the past, but Guardiola has since confirmed that this was not the case.
While he initially claimed the 27-year-old was just unfit, in his pre-match press conference on Friday, Guardiola clarified: ‘He is not injured, he arrived overweight.
‘I don’t know [why he is overweight]. He didn’t arrive in the conditions to [take part] in training sessions and to play.
‘That’s why he cannot play. When he will be ready he will play but we need him. We need him a lot.’
Guardiola added that he would address the matter with Phillips in a ‘private conversation.’
It leaves questions over whether the player will feature against his former club, when City travel to Elland Road on December 28th.
The Citizens are looking to close the gap to Arsenal in the Premier League title race, which may well extend to eight points if the Gunners beat West Ham on Boxing Day.
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