Guardiola: Walker and Phillips ‘probably’ ready for World Cup

Manchester City head coach Pep Guardiola gestures during the Champions League Group G soccer match between Borussia Dortmund and Manchester City in Dortmund, Germany, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2022. (AP Photo /Martin Meissner)

Manchester City head coach Pep Guardiola gestures during the Champions League Group G soccer match between Borussia Dortmund and Manchester City in Dortmund, Germany, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2022. (AP Photo /Martin Meissner)

PA

Kyle Walker and Kalvin Phillips should recover from their injuries in time to be available for England for the World Cup, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said on Tuesday.

England manager Gareth Southgate will announce his squad next week and Walker or Phillips are unlikely to return to action before naming his 26-man squad for the tournament which begins on November 20.

“It’s likely, the way they recover,” Guardiola said when asked about the two players’ chances of being fit for the World Cup. “I don’t know Gareth’s intention, but it’s likely.

“He spoke regularly with the players, with the doctors, and they know exactly better than me. But from what I hear in the dressing room, it is likely that they are ready.

Walker underwent groin surgery last month, while Phillips had shoulder surgery in September. Both were key in England’s run to the European Championship final last year.

Guardiola said Phillips was ahead of Walker in his recovery, but was still only doing “partial” and “non-contact” workouts.

“I know how important the World Cup is,” Guardiola said. “But I’m not going to use a player who I don’t think is ready for the physicality, the pace.”

What is certain is that neither Walker nor Phillips will play against Sevilla in the Champions League on Wednesday in a game that means little to either side. City are sure to top the group and Sevilla will finish third.

Erling Haaland will also miss the game at the Etihad Stadium, Guardiola has said, after being ruled out of Leicester’s 1-0 Premier League win on Saturday with ligament damage in his foot.

Guardiola said City’s star striker was improving but ‘still not 100 per cent’ and not training with the team.

“We don’t want to take any risks, it doesn’t make sense,” Guardiola said. “Hopefully we can have him against Fulham (Saturday).”

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Naomi C. Amerson