The defensive midfielder recently moved to West Ham on loan after a difficult 18 months at City where he struggled for game time.
After joining the Citizens for £42million from Leeds United, Phillips would go on to start just seven games under Guardiola, who later admitted the England star was not part of his plans.
The writing was on the wall quite early for the 28-year-old, who barely played in the first few months of his City career thanks to injury and was then criticised by his manager when he returned to training after the 2022 World Cup.
‘He arrived overweight. I don’t know [why],’ Guardiola said at the time.
‘He didn’t arrive in the conditions to [take part] in training sessions and to play. That’s why he cannot play. When he will be ready he will play.’
Phillips has now opened up on his Etihad career, and has described this incident as the lowest point of his time there, telling The Times: ‘After the World Cup was probably the toughest [moment], when Pep came out and said I was overweight.
‘He was right to do so, but there are different ways to go about it. I did not disagree with him, but obviously I took a big knock on my confidence and how I felt at City.
‘And my family were not happy about it either, especially my mum. She got frustrated when I was at City, she didn’t come to watch as much.
‘People can say overweight, overweight for some people is like 10kg, I was probably 1.5kg over my weight target.
‘I think obviously Pep was frustrated that I didn’t come back into training early, but it was just a miscommunication between the people that worked at City and myself. I just took it on the chin.’
Phillips was hoping that a move to West Ham would get him more minutes and help him secure a place in the Three Lions squad for Euro 2024, but mistakes in his first two appearances for the Irons have shown he is lacking match sharpness.
That is to be expected having barely featured for nearly two seasons, something Phillips also reflected on, adding: I felt like I was sat there just not doing anything.
‘I had nothing to look forward to at the end of the week. It was just training and then: “Oh, there’s a game this weekend, but I’m not playing”, and then training again. It was difficult.
‘It wasn’t a nightmare, it was just stressful. I was just sat there watching a team, a world-class team, the best team in the world, but you sit there and you still want to be involved.
‘I’m not saying that I didn’t enjoy every minute of being there because I did. We won the Treble. But when you’re sat on the bench, not playing games, you don’t feel like it’s your medal to take, because you’re not the one that’s been playing. But they can’t take them away from me, so I’m happy about that.’
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