Pep Guardiola has confirmed that Kyle Walker will not play for Manchester City ahead of the World Cup and that Calvin Phillips only has an outside chance of doing so, but said they are each optimistic of being fit for England if Gareth Southgate includes them in his 26-man squad.
Walker has been out with a groin problem since Oct. 2, while Phillips suffered a shoulder injury on Sept. 14. Southgate sees them as automatic choices when fit, and with Chelsea’s Rhys James, another of his favorite right-backs, was eliminated only after the group stagethe manager faces a dilemma as to how many players who are not 100% fit he can take to Qatar.
Guardiola said of Walker, who can play in central defense or at right-back, and Phillips, a midfielder: “They are better, I think they are getting better, especially Calvin, but they are out. While after World Cupthey won’t be ready [for City].”
The manager was brighter about Phillips then. “He said he feels very good,” Guardiola said. “His shoulder mobility is perfect. He started training in contact with the ball. He needs to avoid contact with his teammates, but he’s really healthy. We are amazed at how fast it is developing [has been].
“If he is fit, I believe he can play [at the World Cup]. When it’s ready, it may take a few minutes [for City before] but I don’t know now. We’ll see.”
Southgate is due to name his squad on November 10, two days before City’s final meeting before the World Cup. Asked about the mood of Phillips and Walker, Guardiola said: “They are positive, they are optimistic, they are ready. I think they are in touch with Garrett. Heads of the national team, perhaps they have more information. Hopefully they can get it and be ready to pick at the end. A question for the national team.”
Erling Haaland was replaced at half-time in Borussia Dortmund’s draw after feeling unwell. Regarding the striker’s availability for Saturday’s trip to Leicester, Guardiola said: “He is feeling better but we have training [Friday] in the afternoon We will evaluate it in a few hours. We’ll see how he feels, whether he’ll be fit.”