Who among us does not skirt the fine line of picking up a few pounds during the holidays?
For former Bayern Munich manager and current Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola, the casual adding of extra weight is, well, a big deal. In fact, so big that he put midfielder Kalvin Phillips on blast for returning to Manchester City a bit out of shape and overweight.
“He’s not injured — he arrived overweight. I don’t know [why]. He didn’t arrive in the condition to do training sessions and to play,” Guardiola said (as captured by the Daily Mail). “When he will be ready, he will play, because we need him, we need him a lot. It’s a private conversation with Kalvin.”
BeIN Sport host Richard Keys, however, thinks Guardiola is not being fair to Phillips by bringing it up to the media, citing that Sergio Agüero did not get publicly chided after showing up out of shape to play for Guardiola in the past.
“Never a word when he used to leave [Sergio] Agüero out for the same offense. Strange,” Keys said.
This statement came after Agüero’s own admission last fall that Guardiola once told he that he was “too fat.”
Aguero expanded on the situation with this statement: “If your ideal weight is 79-80kg and you were 80 kilos and 100 grams you would be fined and you don’t play. But it can happen! You come across a little bit of chicken for example, then you are going to be 50 grams over!”
Agüero also admitted that Guardiola benched him for his lack of fitness.
“Well, the first season we were between fourth and third and he said, ‘I left you out because you turned up fat this week’,” Agüero said. “And what was I going to say? He was right… these things happen. He said it in a good way. And at the time I didn’t really have his confidence. But I was always very respectful to the coaches.”
Moreso than Phillips’ fitness, Guardiola’s decision to make it public is one of those things coaches do from time to time to light a fire under a player. Maybe Phillips will be more focused and disciplined next time around — otherwise he might hear it from the boss once more.