World Cup: Boost for England as Phillips set for return, but Canada hit by Davies injury

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MANCHESTER – In a boost for England manager Gareth Southgate, his Manchester City counterpart Pep Guardiola said midfielder Kalvin Phillips will return to their squad for Wednesday’s League Cup clash against Chelsea.

The 26-year-old, who has regularly partnered Declan Rice in Southgate’s midfield, has been plagued by a shoulder injury that required surgery and has kept him out of action since September.

The England international also had injury issues last season, playing just 23 times for Leeds before joining City in July. He has played just 13 minutes for the Citizens.

In more good news for Southgate, Guardiola said England right-back Kyle Walker – who is also recovering after surgery for a groin injury – was feeling much better.

“Yesterday Kalvin was the second day he did a full training session with contact with us and he felt good,” said Guardiola, after a 2-1 win over Fulham on Saturday.

“Against Chelsea he will be on the bench, whether to play or not I don’t know but… Kalvin is much better. I spoke with Kyle and he feels good too, but his surgery was later than Kalvin, that’s why I don’t know.”

The news of the duo’s progress will come as a boost for Southgate before he names his World Cup squad on Thursday. Chelsea fullback Ben Chilwell will miss the tournament due to a hamstring injury while teammate Reece James has been ruled out for eight weeks due to a knee issue.

The England manager also has other types of selection headaches. Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers said his playmaker James Maddison should be called up to England’s World Cup squad after another excellent all-round attacking display in their 2-0 Premier League win over Everton on Saturday.

His two assists mean he has been directly involved in 22 Premier League goals in 2022 (13 goals, 9 assists); behind only Harry Kane (32), Kevin de Bruyne (29) and Son Heung-min (25).

Asked if Maddison deserved a place in the England squad, Rodgers told Sky Sports: “It’s not a debate. That’s the reality.

“I respect there are so many top players, so many attacking players, doing well but if you can’t find (a place for) a player of that quality that has produced consistently over the last 18 months as he has then it’s obviously sad.”

In other World Cup fitness news, Canada may be without Alphonso Davies at the World Cup, after the Bayern Munich wide man limped off grabbing his hamstring in his side’s narrow 3-2 win over Hertha Berlin on Saturday.

Davies was subbed off in the 63rd minute, with manager Julian Nagelsmann saying the 22-year-old tore a muscle in his leg.