Jesse Marsch drops Kalvin Phillips reveal as Leeds old boy struggles to convince Pep Guardiola amid ‘overweight’ jibe

Kalvin Phillips of Manchester City during the UEFA Champions League Group G match at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium in Seville, Spain Credit: Alamy
Kalvin Phillips of Manchester City during the UEFA Champions League Group G match at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium in Seville, Spain Credit: Alamy

Jesse Marsch believes an emotional first return to Elland Road for Kalvin Phillips is likely to bring out the best from the Manchester City midfielder when they take on Leeds on Wednesday evening.

Phillips’ place in City’s squad for the Premier League clash is in doubt after Pep Guardiola revealed last week that he had returned overweight from World Cup duty with England.

But Marsch feels the 27-year-old will be inspired on his return to his boyhood club, should he be included by Guardiola.

“Clearly he will have a strong attachment to the fans, his family being here,” Marsch said. “He would have 30 family members at matches here and you could multiply that by two probably for this match.

“You just always felt that he felt this was where he belonged, that this was his home.

“When he made the decision to leave, that was a big part of the difficulty and coming back he’ll re-visit those emotions and I think it will bring the best out of him, that’s the kind of person he is.”

Phillips was a surprise omission from City’s squad for last week’s Carabao Cup win over Liverpool, with Guardiola claiming afterwards that the £45million signing was not in condition to play.

Shoulder surgery has restricted Phillips to just four substitute appearances for City so far. He also came off the bench twice for the Three Lions In Qatar.

Phillips’ absence felt by Leeds

But Marsch explained why Phillips has been sorely missed by Leeds after making the gut-wrenching decision to quit the club for City back in July.

“Obviously Kalvin’s such a good player. But for me he was a really likeable, heart-warming kind of person to have around the team,” the American added.

“He got along with everybody here, with the older players as well as the younger players. With me as well as the academy coaches.

“He just had a way, when he walked round this building, he made everybody feel at home.

“If you asked me what was the hardest part about replacing Kalvin, it was a little bit of that. Making sure we still had the feeling of what Leeds United is.

“What it means to be from Leeds, what the history of the club means, the human element of what we are and that we still stayed strong with that.

“And I think we’ve replaced that with really good people. We still miss Kalvin. He came for one of our matches, Fulham, and you could see he felt the pain of losing that match.

“It was like he was still here and he missed being here. Of course he misses being here, he misses the guys. He’s got a lot of great friends. This club is in his heart.”

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