How wise is it for Kalvin Phillips to spend his time as an understudy to Rodri?

Rodri signed a contract extension just two weeks after Phillips officially became a City player, which means that the Spaniard will remain at the club until 2027.

Kalvin Phillips celebrates after England's opening match at Euro 2020; Cedit: [email protected]

The course of Kalvin Phillips’ career trajectory since Marcelo Bielsa arrived in Leeds during the summer of 2018 makes for astonishing viewing. Indeed, the defensive midfielder was a bit part player in the Championship at Elland Road in the lead-up to Bielsa’s appointment as Leeds manager, but three years after that, Phillips was voted as England’s Player of the Year for the men’s team.

Subsequently, this remarkable rise to the top of the professional game earned Phillips a move to Manchester City, which will now surely guarantee that the Leeds-born player wins some, if not all, of English football’s most coveted trophies. At least, the majority of football bets are being placed on Man City to win the league this season after Guardiola’s men were priced at 1.57 to make it a hat-trick of Premier League titles.

Furthermore, the most recent football news goes on to report that City are in good form ahead of the upcoming campaign and tipped once more to climb to the summit of the top flight. With all of this in mind, you would be inclined to think that Phillips’ move to the Etihad Stadium was a no-brainer, and of course, on paper, it looks like it is. However, even if Phillips stands to rack up a considerable amount of winners’ medals in the next few years, you still have to question the wisdom in joining a team where he will act as an understudy to Rodri, the club’s incumbent defensive midfielder. 

Competition for Places          

It would, naturally, be foolish to suggest that Phillips will spend his entire time at City as the number two to Rodri, but it’s also worth keeping in mind that both players are 26. On top of that, Rodri signed a contract extension just two weeks after Phillips officially became a City player, which means that the Spaniard will remain at the club until 2027, one year before Phillip’s deal expires in 2028.

Essentially, this means that Rodri isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, which could lead to a situation where Phillips is left to play second fiddle should he not do enough to displace the irrepressible Spaniard. Yes, you could argue against that by saying that City play in more fixtures than most teams, which will open the door for Phillips to shine when Guardiola chooses to rotate his squad. While that may be true, it will still mean that the former Leeds player takes part in in a fraction of the games he did when he was contracted to the Elland Road side. 

That may be a trade-off that Phillips is happy to make so that he is able to play under the great Guardiola and in a side that will compete for every major honour available. The inescapable truth still remains, however, and that is England’s 2021 Player of the Year will no longer be the main protagonist but now an understudy. The 26-year-old could become the leading man once more but as things stand, his career trajectory will tail off for the first time in four years.

Sportslumo Desk

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