Pep Guardiola & Kalvin Phillips
Manchester City manager, Pep Guardiola (centre), has apologised to Kalvin Phillips (left) after previously labelling him as overweight. Phil Noble/Reuters

Manchester City manager, Pep Guardiola, has issued an apology to Kalvin Phillips over past comments made about the player's weight.

Phillips was left out of Manchester City's matchday squad when the side beat Liverpool in the Carabao Cup in December 2022. Guardiola revealed that Phillips' absence was not from any injury, but because he returned overweight from England's 2022 FIFA World Cup campaign.

Due to being 1.5 kilograms over his weight target, Phillips was not deemed fit enough to partake in training sessions and matches.

After struggling to make any real impact at Manchester City since joining from Leeds United for £42 million in 2022, Philipps moved to West Ham United last month on a loan deal until the end of the season.

Not long after joining the Hammers, the midfielder spoke out on how Guardiola's comments derailed his confidence at the time and how the matter could have been handled differently.

Ahead of Manchester City facing Brentford in the Premier League on Tuesday, Guardiola was asked in his pre-match conference whether he regretted his previous comments regarding Phillips' weight.

The Spaniard responded, saying: "Yeah, I'm sorry. Once in eight years is not bad (regarding regrets from his Manchester City tenure). But I'm so sorry. I apologise to him."

Guardiola also revealed that he discussed the topic with Phillips at the time before making the matter public. The 53-year-old commented: "Before (going public), I spoke to him. I never, ever don't speak to the team before I say something here (to the press), or the player in that case."

Guardiola's comments come amidst Phillips struggling to settle in at West Ham, with the England international enduring a tough start to life at the London Stadium. In four appearances so far, the midfielder is yet to feature in a win for his new side.

Just three minutes into Phillips' debut against Bournemouth, he gave the ball away inside West Ham's penalty box, and Dominic Solanke took full advantage of the error by scoring.

Phillips committed another costly mistake against Manchester United as Scott McTominay dispossessed him on the halfway line before Alejandro Garnacho went on to score from that attack. He then featured in West Ham's heavy 6-0 loss at home against Arsenal.

This past weekend, Phillips experienced his worst moment in a West Ham shirt to date as he was sent off after receiving two quick bookings in his side's 2-0 defeat to Nottingham Forest. The 28-year-old will now miss West Ham's next Premier League match with Brentford next Monday.

Phillips' struggles at West Ham may somewhat coincide with the difficult environment he has walked into as David Moyes' side are yet to win a game in 2024. This has left the Scotsman under increased scrutiny by the Hammers' supporters.

Despite Phillips having over four years left on his contract at Manchester City, his career at the Etihad Stadium is most likely over so he will need to find a new permanent home this summer.

His loan move to West Ham not going the way he intended so far could derail his future as clubs may not be too keen on purchasing him at a high price. Manchester City will likely want to recoup a majority of the fee spent on him two years ago.

Phillips' form with West Ham also has implications for his England future as he now faces a battle to be named in Gareth Southgate's squad for this summer's UEFA European Championships in Germany.

Southgate has remained loyal to Phillips by naming him in previous squads despite the midfielder's lack of playing time at Manchester City. However, the England boss may have no choice but to leave Phillips at home if his form does not get better as England now have an array of midfield talent coming through the ranks.

Some of the uncapped midfielders sure to have recently caught Southgate's eye include Manchester United's Kobbie Mainoo, Liverpool's Curtis Jones and Newcastle United's Lewis Miley.