I was honoured that Man Utd wanted me… but I would NEVER have signed for them, says Man City new-boy Kalvin Phillips
MANCHESTER CITY new-boy Kalvin Phillips says there was NO chance of him joining rivals United.
The £42million signing, 26, confirmed interest arrived from Old Trafford when it became clear he might leave Leeds.
However, his strong connection with the Whites meant he could not consider a move to their bitter foes.
Phillips, dubbed the Yorkshire Pirlo, smiled when asked if a summer switch to Manchester United was an option — and stressed: “No, there was never any chance of me going there.
“You know my loyalty to Leeds, my family as well, they’re all Leeds fans.
“I was honoured by United wanting me, such a big team – one of the biggest teams in the world.
“But no, I had to stay loyal to Leeds and choose to go to the other side of Manchester.”
Asked if it was unusual to take such a stance, he said: “I don’t know, it’s just the way I am, the way I think and the way I’ll always be.
“I want to be loyal to the people who’ve given me the biggest opportunity in the world.
“Leeds were the first team to sign me, I made sure that was one of the main things I’d do.”
While his boyhood club hoped he might stay, in the end the lure of playing for Pep Guardiola proved too strong.
It may only be for a year if the former Barcelona coach does not sign a contract renewal as his current one expires in summer 2023.
But Phillips added: “It was the opportunity to be coached by Pep even if it’s just for a year or hopefully longer.
“I know he’s a great manager and he’ll elevate my game to a level I want to be at, and be involved in teams fighting for trophies.
“Also just be around players that make you a better player every single day. The opportunity I was given was one I couldn’t turn down.
“Even if Pep’s only here for one more year then it will hopefully be a good year.”
FREE BETS AND SIGN UP DEALS – BEST NEW CUSTOMER OFFERS
Phillips knows he has put his World Cup place at risk by moving to Manchester City.
But he hopes he will end up being rewarded with a spot in Gareth Southgate’s World Cup starting XI in Qatar.
The 26-year-old was always guaranteed to play — providing he was fit — during the last few years at boyhood club Leeds United.
So joining the champions just four months before the Three Lions head to the Middle East is something of a gamble.
For the first few weeks of the season, he will have to find a way past an incredible collection of midfielders to feature regularly in Pep Guardiola’s plans.
I want to come here and prove myself against the best players in the world
Kevin De Bruyne, Rodri and Ilkay Gundogan are just some of the superstars who will be standing in his way.
And he has to find a way to get the game time to ensure he still stays firmly in the thoughts of the England boss.
He said: “I spoke to Gareth about lots of teams being interested in me, we didn’t speak about the World Cup because we had the Nations League.
“It’s a risk-reward thing. At Leeds I was always the guy that needed to play every game, with City that isn’t the case.
“There are some amazing players. I need to get my head around that and push myself to be in that bracket where I need to be playing and want to be playing.
“I want to come here and prove myself against the best players in the world. If I do that, great, and if I don’t then obviously there’s things that might not go to plan.
“I’m just looking forward to playing my first game for City and pushing on and hopefully playing at the World Cup.”
Comments are closed.