Jamie Redknapp backs Kalvin Phillips' 'tough character

Jamie Redknapp backs Kalvin Phillips’ ‘tough character’ to overcome criticisms aimed at the midfielder after he returned from England World Cup duty and use them to be a success at Manchester City

  • Jamie Redknapp believes Kalvin Phillips is strong enough to overcome critics 
  • Phillips was accused of being overweight by Pep Guardiola after the World Cup 
  • The midfielder started in Man City’s 2-0 Carabao Cup exit to Southampton 
  • The former Leeds man has only played nine times since summer move to City  

Jamie Redknapp believes Kalvin Phillips is tough enough to handle the criticism that’s been aimed at him following his return from the World Cup.

Phillips started as Manchester City suffered a surprising 2-0 defeat to Southampton in their Carabao Cup quarter-final, and after the game Redknapp addressed some of the issues surrounding the midfielder. 

After a shoulder injury restricted the start to his Man City career, last month, the 27-year-old was accused by Pep Guardiola of returning from Qatar ‘overweight’ and was made to wait for a start in the City team following his exploits for England at the finals. 

Kalvin Phillips started as Man City were knocked out of the Carabao Cup by Southampton 

Jamie Redknapp told Sky Sports he believes that Phillips is strong enough to overcome some of the criticisms he’s had aimed at him 

However, talking on Sky Sports, former England midfielder Redknapp claimed he didn’t mind the honesty from the Man City boss and that he believes Phillips has the right character to take the criticism and use it a motivation. 

‘Coming back from the World Cup he got a bit of stick from his manager saying he was a little bit overweight.’ Said Redknapp. 

‘That is a slant on anyone’s character. I don’t mind that bit of honesty. Maybe I am a bit old school, but looking at him, where he is from, in terms of how he has been brought up as a footballer at Leeds, he is a tough character and plays the game the right way. 

The England star was accused of being overweight by Pep Guardiola when he returned to the club after the World Cup 

I think he will take that in the spirit it was and show the manager. The fact he is playing him now, everything is forgotten. 

Sometimes you need that bit of honesty. If you aren’t sharp after the World Cup, sometimes I think you should be told that. I think he will respond in the right way.’ 

Eyebrows were raised when Phillips was selected for England’s World Cup squad, having only managed four appearances for his new club since joining City in the summer from Leeds United. 

Phillips was subbed off during the 2-0 defeat to Southampton that saw City exit the cup 

The competition has been fierce at the Etihad especially with Rodri as first choice defensive midfielder for the club 

Despite his lack of game time Gareth Southgate included him in party in Qatar and the midfield man came off the bench twice for the Three Lions in their World Cup campaign. 

However, he was slammed by Guardiola on his return and is yet to establish himself in the Spanish manager’s all-star City team – with Rodri the preferred option in Phillips role in the team. 

Redknapp admits that having one of best midfielders in the world in front of you has made life difficult for the new signing. 

The 27-year-old joined Man City in the summer but has only played nine times for the club 

He added: ‘It is difficult because he is up against one of the best midfielders in the world in Rodri, when you are in direct competition with someone like that, it is tough to get a game.’ 

One competition Phillips won’t get another game in is the Carabao Cup after City’s shock defeat. First half goals from Sekou Mara and Moussa Djenepo were enough to book Southampton’s place in the competition’s semi-finals, and get a first win for manager Nathan Jones. 

Saints will now face a two-legged semi-final against Newcastle in a bid to make their first League Cup final since 2017. 

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