As Manchester City went out of the Carabao Cup at the hands of Newcastle with a 1-nil defeat, there were some positive signs from Kalvin Phillips. It was his first start of the season and it could be a building block for his season and City career.
With Rodri out suspended, and Bernardo Silva and Kevin De Bruyne both injured, Kalvin Phillips had previously said that this week was the most crucial in his Manchester City career. He got through 90 minutes against Newcastle, his first full game for the season. While City went out of the Carabao Cup and he didn’t set the world on fire, there were some positives from Kalvin Phillips’s game.
The England international looked a lot better in possession than in some of his previous performances. He showed more poise and calmness with the ball, and his distribution looked more suited to City’s play. Phillips looked a lot more comfortable in the City setup and while City lost, and Newcastle were the better team in the second half, there were some positives for City and Kalvin Phillips to work with. Defensively he was caught out on occasion, but with more game time that should improve.
City manager Pep Guardiola praised Phillips’s performance post-game. He told the media in his post-game press conference: “Kalvin played really well. It’s not easy when you have a lack of rhythm and tempo. He did it and he was really good.”
The praise from Guardiola should give Phillips some confidence to grow into this season. He has long waited for an opportunity at the treble winners since arriving last summer from Leeds United. With Rodri suspended for another two domestic games, the hope is Kalvin Phillips will build upon the positive signs shown in his last two appearances.