Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says he has been left with no option than to send Kalvin Phillips for shoulder surgery that will leave the midfielder facing a World Cup fitness race.
Phillips has managed three substitute appearances for City since his £45m summer move from Leeds, which has amounted to less than 20 minutes of playing time.
“The doctor says when you have been out four times with a shoulder, the only solution is surgery,” said Guardiola.
The manager said it had been a frustrating start to Phillips’ City career, adding: “Absolutely. For us as well.
“We need him. Rodri cannot play all the games. Kalvin came for that, to fight for a position.”
Although the 26-year-old was introduced during stoppage time in the Champions League win against Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday, he did not make the City squad for the Premier League victory at Wolves on Saturday.
Phillips has not fully recovered from a shoulder problem he sustained in an end-of-season match for Leeds against West Brom in May 2021, which almost stopped him featuring at Euro 2020.
Former Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa considered sending him for surgery last season. Now Guardiola has been told it is inevitable, meaning Phillips will miss the Nations League encounters with Italy and Germany this month.
It is just over nine weeks to England’s opening World Cup game against Iran on 21 November, and while the City boss is hopeful Phillips will recover in time, he can offer no guarantees.
“I think so, but I am not a doctor,” said Guardiola, when asked if Phillips would be fit for the tournament in Qatar.