Kalvin Phillips says late grandma inspired £45m Man City move from beloved Leeds

Kalvin Phillips admits his late grandma inspired him to turn his back on his beloved Leeds to join Manchester City.

England ace Phillips has completed his £50m move to the English champions after agreeing a six year deal with Pep Guardiola's men. Leeds-born Phillips became a cult figure at Elland Road after helping the Yorkshire club return to the top flight in 2021 under Marcelo Bielsa.

The midfielder admits it was a gut-wrenching decision to leave his boyhood club. But Phillips has revealed how he made a promise to follow the advice of his grandmother Val Crosby – who told him to follow his dreams in a bid to become one of the biggest stars in football.

Phillips was left heartbroken in 2021 when Crosby, otherwise known as 'Granny Val' following her starring role in the Leeds documentary 'Take Us Home' died.

He said: "I think throughout my childhood I have always been a Leeds fan. I have always loved Leeds and it is all I have ever known. To come here is a big decision for me. It is one that took a lot of thinking about. Everything that I do is for my family.

"The last couple of years without my gran has been difficult and different, but the women in my life are why I want to do so well in football and why I want to test myself against the best, in the best team and against the best players.

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"I want to make a name for myself and make them proud. Granny Val would be happy. From day one she has always been telling me to follow my dreams – and that is the reason why I have come to this club because I had a dream that I wanted to play for one of the best clubs in the world and for one of the best managers as well. She would be very happy."

Phillips, 26, admits he is pinching himself at the fact he has gone from being starstruck by Guardiola's team of legends to becoming their new team-mate. Phillips was in awe of Guardiola's stars when he faced them for the first time at Elland Road in the top flight and he added: "It was a wet night at Elland Road and we drew 1-1 against City in a big game. It was the first big game against City that we had played. We went around shaking everyone’s hands, but I didn’t really say too much to them because I was too speechless to say anything because they are all big stars.

"Pep came over as well and shook my hand and I was just smiling. It was an amazing moment. To be here now and managed by Pep is one of the things I have always aimed for." City's Director of Football Txiki Begiristain added: "We are absolutely delighted to be able to welcome Kalvin to Manchester City. He is a player that we have long admired, and at both domestic and international level, he has proved his fantastic ability and quality over the past few seasons.

"His reading of the game, alongside his passing ability, energy and drive make him a formidable talent and he is a player who has a fantastic will to win. We feel he will be a superb addition to our squad and that he will complement our game perfectly. Everyone here is looking forward to watch Kalvin play and develop even further over the next few years."

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