Manchester City spell was stressful – Kalvin Phillips

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Midfielder Kalvin Phillips from England describes his experience at Manchester City as ‘stressful,’ while his loan transfer to West Ham has revitalized him, making him feel ‘more alive.

At 28 years old, he had just six starts for Pep Guardiola’s team after his £42 million move from Leeds in 2022.

During his time at City, he faced criticism from the manager regarding his weight, an experience that significantly impacted his confidence, as Phillips disclosed.

“Now I’m here at West Ham and playing, I feel a lot more alive,” he said, following his January move south.

“I still loved the game, it just changed my way of thinking a little bit,” Phillips told the Observer.

“The game wasn’t letting me down but the fact I had nothing to look forward to kind of pushed me away.

“Now I’m here at West Ham and playing, I feel a lot more alive. It’s not starting from scratch, it’s starting afresh.”

Guardiola said Phillips reported back overweight after being at the 2022 World Cup with England.

“After the World Cup was probably the toughest, when Pep came out and said I was overweight,” Phillips said.

“He was right to do so but there are different ways to go about it.

“I did not disagree with him but obviously I took a big knock on my confidence and how I felt at City. And my family were not happy about it, either. Especially my mum.

“It was just a misunderstanding and I think he was very frustrated with me coming back 1.5kg over my weight target.”

Despite winning the Treble with City last season and adding the Club World Cup title in December, Phillips found himself on the fringes of the team.

The arrivals of midfielders Mateo Kovacic and Matheus Nunes in the summer further intensified competition for places, limiting Phillips to only 380 Premier League minutes for the Blues before his departure on loan last month.

“It wasn’t a nightmare at City, it was just stressful,” said Phillips, who hopes regular football can cement his place in the England squad for this summer’s European Championship.

He said he spoke to England boss Gareth Southgate about his move before opting for West Ham, with Juventus and Newcastle also options for him.

Declan Rice, a former West Ham midfielder now with Arsenal and also Phillips’ England teammate, initially influenced Phillips to consider the move. However, it was Hammers manager David Moyes who ultimately persuaded him that joining West Ham was the correct 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 added.