Manchester City summer signing Kalvin Phillips was ‘honoured’ to be linked with a move to Manchester United but insists he was ‘never’ going to join the Red Devils due to his ‘loyalty’ to Leeds United.
Phillips emerged as a target for both City and United following his impressive performances for Leeds and England, having played a starring role in the Three Lions’ run to the Euro 2020 final.
But Yorkshireman and Leeds fan Phillips had no intention of moving to arch-rivals Manchester United, instead completing a £45m move to Man City earlier this month.
Asked if there was ever a possibility he was going to end up at United, Phillips said: ‘No, there was never any chance of me going there. You know my loyalty to Leeds, my family as well, they’re all Leeds fans.
‘I was honoured by United wanting me, such a big team – one of the biggest teams in the world. But no, I had to stay loyal to Leeds and choose to go to the other side of Manchester.’
Asked if his stance was somewhat unusual in modern football, Phillips added: ‘I don’t know, it’s just the way I am, the way I think and the way I’ll always be.
‘I want to be loyal to the people who’ve given me the biggest opportunity in the world. Leeds were the first team to sign me, I made sure that was one of the main things I’d do.’
Phillips made 235 appearances over eight seasons at Elland Road and still had two years left on his Leeds deal when he decided to leave.
He put pen to paper on a six-year contract with Premier League champions Manchester City and became Pep Guardiola’s third summer signing following the arrivals of Erling Haaland and Stefan Ortega Moreno.
Phillips cannot wait to work with Guardiola at City, even though the Spanish manager could leave the Etihad next summer when his current contract expires.
‘It was the opportunity to be coached by Pep even if it’s just for a year or hopefully longer,’ Phillips said.
‘I know he’s a great manager and he’ll elevate my game to a level I want to be at, and be involved in teams fighting for trophies.
‘Also just be around players that make you a better player every single day. The opportunity I was given was one I couldn’t turn down.’
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