Soccer-Phillips to start for City at Newcastle, says Guardiola

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Brentford v Manchester City - Brentford Community Stadium, London, Britain - May 28, 2023 Brentford's Ethan Pinnock in action with Manchester City's Kalvin Phillips Action Images via Reuters/Matthew Childs/File Photo

(Reuters) - Kalvin Phillips will make his first start this season for Manchester City in their League Cup game with Newcastle United, as manager Pep Guardiola rotates his side to cope with a busy fixture list.

The England midfielder joined City last year but failed to make an impact, struggling with a shoulder injury and being criticised by Guardiola for returning from the World Cup overweight.

The 27-year-old came on as a substitute in Saturday's 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest after Rodri's sending-off.

"Yes, he (Phillips) will start," Guardiola told reporters on Tuesday.

"The second half (against Forest) was a little bit more defensive... and he made three or four incredible options to help us breathe."

Also expected to feature are Mateo Kovacic and Jack Grealish. Kovacic has missed City's last three games through injury and Grealish returned as a late substitute on Sunday after a hamstring problem.

"Jack is much better, Mateo as well. I don't know how many minutes, from the beginning or the second half, but they are going to play minutes," the manager said.

With big league games to come for City, along with the Champions League, Guardiola is prepared to make more changes for the League Cup game.

"Tomorrow is important, but Wolves, Leipzig and Arsenal is much more important."

City travel to Newcastle in the League Cup third round on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Trevor Stynes, editing by Ed Osmond)

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