By Noel Whelan

9th Nov, 2022 | 7:00am

Pundit shares '100%' Kalvin Phillips claim after Man City twist

Noel Whelan has backed Man City midfielder Kalvin Phillips to play a role for England at this month’s World Cup even if he is not “100% match fit”.

The former Leeds striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, insisted the 26-year-old is “a great player to have in case of any injuries and suspensions” in the Three Lions camp.

Speaking ahead of Wednesday’s (9 November) League Cup clash with Chelsea and quoted by the Manchester Evening News, Pep Guardiola confirmed Phillips will make a return to the squad for the Etihad Stadium showdown.

The 23-cap star, who started every game at Euro 2020, has revealed he is “very hopeful” of making the England squad despite making just three appearances this season.

Phillips had shoulder surgery in September after struggling with a long-running issue.

He joined the reigning Premier League champions from Leeds United in the summer window for a reported £42million.

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Whelan suggested Phillips won’t be in Gareth Southgate’s starting lineup against Iran on 21 November, but will get “fitter and sharper” while away in Qatar with the Three Lions.

He told Football Insider’s Ewan Kingsbury: “It’s about what he’s done in the past, and the club he is at right now.

“He’ll be fit, but he won’t be 100% match fit. But having him there to utilise along with Declan Rice will be helpful. We know they’ve got good chemistry and they get on well.

“Phillips is a player you end up using the further you go into the tournament.

“He’ll be getting fitter and sharper away with England, as well. It’s a good time for him to come back, and I think Gareth will go for the familiarity he will bring.

“I very much doubt he’ll start, but he’s a great player to have in case of any injuries and suspensions.”

In other news, ex-referee lambasts “diver” Kevin De Bruyne as controversial Man City footage emerges.