Pep Guardiola gave Kalvin Phillips a rare chance to play on Tuesday as Manchester City won the UEFA Champions League by a score of 3-1.
The England player got seven minutes on the field to help finish off the win over Red Star Belgrade, and the crowd sang to him as he got ready to come on.
What’s going on?
Well, the 27-year-old has been having a hard time lately.
So far this season, Guardiola has left Phillips on the bench for four of the five Premier League games. In the 5-1 win over Fulham, Phillips played for just six minutes.
The £45 million man doesn’t seem to let it bother him, but just in case, the Manchester City fans tried to cheer him up with a chant.
As Phillips got ready to come on in the 83rd minute, fans at Etihad Stadium yelled, “Kalvin Phillips, he’s first in the league!” This was because Manchester City had just won Group G and was in first place in the Premier League after a perfect start to the season.
After that chant, RB Leipzig scored a goal in the 92nd minute, tying them with Manchester City at the top of Group G on goal difference. It was nice to see Phillips get a warm reaction from the fans, especially since he hadn’t played much.
Kalvin Phillips plays a job at Manchester City that doesn’t get much attention.
It’s easy to see the Leeds-born playmaker’s lack of action as a bad thing, but people often forget how important competition is in a top-level football team.
We think that Phillips’s presence alone helps Rodri reach the high level of play he has now, and it also makes the Spain international play with a lot of regularity.
If Leeds United fans hadn’t called him “Yorkshire Pirlo,” there’s no promise that Manchester City’s No. 16 would play so well every week without him.