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Kalvin Phillips confirmed to start for Manchester City against Newcastle as Jack Grealish and Mateo Kovacic places revealed



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Pep Guardiola has confirmed that Kalvin Phillips will start for Manchester City against Newcastle United in the Carabao Cup third round this week.

The England international defensive midfielder was expected to be called into action much more this week following Rodri’s red card and three-game suspension sustained against Nottingham Forest on Sunday afternoon for violent conduct.

The first of those three games comes in the third round of the League Cup, and Kalvin Phillips will feature at the base of Manchester City’s three-man midfield, in a starting line-up that is expected to be heavily weakened with rest in mind.

Speaking ahead of the contest in the north-east, Pep Guardiola has confirmed to the media during his press conference that Kalvin Phillips will start, and reassured that the player has been ‘really important’ to the club since the day he arrived from Leeds United.

“Yeah, he will start,” Guardiola began.

“Not just this week, many, many times since he arrived, he’s been really important (for Manchester City). His consistency, he does everything in the game after what happened against Nottingham (Forest), it was more defensive, resilient, defend and he helped us breathe.”

Pep Guardiola continued, “The important thing is when you act in the smaller spaces, we try to help him. The game tomorrow is important and every single game I’ll decide what’s best for the team.”

The Manchester City manager has also confirmed the fitness statuses concerning both Jack Grealish and Mateo Kovacic, with both players having recently recovered from respective fitness problems ruling them out of action during the international break.

Guardiola explained, “Jack (Grealish) is much better, Mateo (Kovacic) as well. I don’t know how many minutes (they will play), from the start of second half, but they are going to get minutes (against Newcastle United).”

Jack Grealish returned to action for Manchester City on Saturday afternoon, featuring as a second-half substitute in the 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest, and is likely to play an increasingly important role over the coming matches.

Jeremy Doku’s hugely impressive start to life at the Etihad Stadium has meant that some have questioned Grealish’s starting place, however City are aware that the Belgian forward’s minutes need to be managed well due to his history with muscular injuries.

Following the contest in Newcastle this week, Manchester City then travel to Molineux for a Premier League clash against Wolverhampton Wanderers, in a game that could see Matheus Nunes face his former club for the first time since going on strike during the closing days of the summer transfer window in order to force through a move to the Etihad.