Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has apologised to Kalvin Phillips for saying the midfielder was “overweight” on his return from the Qatar World Cup.

Guardiola made the comments in December 2022, explaining why Phillips had been left out of his squad for a Carabao Cup fourth-round tie against Liverpool.

Phillips said the comments were “a big knock to my confidence” when asked about them earlier this month.

“I’m sorry,” said Guardiola. “I do apologise to him. I’m so sorry.”

Guardiola said he spoke to the 28-year-old, who joined West Ham on loan last month, about the issue when he returned from a short break immediately after the World Cup.

“I did speak about that,” added the City boss. “I never before said something here [to the media] without speaking to the player.”

Phillips has endured a difficult start to his loan spell at West Ham.

The former Leeds midfielder gifted Bournemouth a goal with his first touch for the club in a 1-1 draw at London Stadium on 1 February, was responsible for conceding another in a 3-0 defeat at Manchester United three days later and on Saturday at Nottingham Forest was sent off for two bookable offences within three minutes of each other as the Hammers were beaten 2-0.

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