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Sky Blue News: Foden Update, Phillips Latest, Esme Growing, and More...

Happy Tuesday from Bitter and Blue.

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Manchester City v Burnley: Emirates FA Cup Quarter Final Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

It’s back to business for the Manchester City men as they prepare for a weekend visit from Liverpool. The women have a Sunday trip to Arsenal FC before departing on an international break of their own. Sky Blue News is here with all the latest.

Sending Joao Cancelo on Loan Could be Pep Guardiola’s Biggest Mistake this Season - Emmanuel Odey - Bitter and Blue

The right-back was thought to have become a bad apple that needed to be removed in order not to spoil the whole basket. The overall health of the team was more important, after all.

But the 28 year-old later revealed in an interview that he left by mutual agreement as a result of the lack of sufficient game time and that there was no rift or bad blood between him and his manager. With that revelation, it was now clear that the initial version of the story was inaccurate to put it as politely as possible. The defender was actually not a bad influence on the team despite wanting to play more.

Pep Guardiola could not guarantee him more game time but wanted him to be happy. Both parties reached a conclusion after holding discussions that the best option for all parties was for the player to move elsewhere. He ended up leaving for Bayern Munich as the German giants sought to add another experienced player to their star-studded squad.

Now with the German side the right-back seems to have been reborn. He is flying at the moment and was the star man for Portugal during the international break. Although Cristiano Ronaldo grabbed the headlines (as he always does) by scoring and breaking records for his country, Cancelo was the real MVP.

Against Liechtenstein, he scored and set up goals as Portugal won 4-0. Even more impressive was the way in which he was gliding across the pitch from defense to attack.

Man City star Foden watches England’s win over Ukraine from hospital bed and gives update on Instagram after appendix surgery - Jake Lambourne - talkSPORT

Foden could now miss up to a month of action, where he will play no part in Saturday’s crunch clash against Liverpool at the Etihad.

And it looks unlikely he will feature in the Champions League quarter-final tie against Bayern Munich, with it remaining to be seen if he will be available for the match against Premier League leaders Arsenal on April 26.

But Foden remains in good spirits as shown by a picture he posted on his Instagram story.

Smiling for the camera while giving a cheeky thumbs-up, the two-time PFA Young Player of the Year said: “Thank you for all of the messages.

“Feeling much better already, I’ll be back soon.”

Foden also shared a snap of himself watching the Three Lions‘ 2-0 win at Wembley while in hospital.

Manchester City ‘have no intention of selling Kalvin Phillips’ - Darren Plant - Sports Mole

While a shoulder injury led to a prolonged period on the sidelines, Phillips has also never found himself in favour with Pep Guardiola.

Although the 27-year-old possesses a contract until 2028, there have been suggestions that a quick exit from City could become a possibility later this year.

At a time when City have been linked with new additions for the middle of the pitch, Phillips is known to have admirers at his former club Leeds United and West Ham United.

Nevertheless, according to Football Insider, City have no intention of allowing Phillips to depart the club during the summer transfer window.

As well as City taking that stance, the report adds that Phillips would prefer to spend at least another year at the Premier League giants in a bid to prove his quality and fitness.

Despite featuring for just 50 minutes for City in March, Phillips was given a chance to make an impact for England in their World Cup qualifier in Italy last week.

Sources: Kalvin Phillips does not want to quit Man City after Leeds United twist - Peter O’Rourke - Football Insider

The 27-year-old has been linked with long-term admirers West Ham and a return to former club Leeds United in recent weeks.

But it is believed that Phillips wants to remain at Man City as he is determined to break into Pep Guardiola’s side – despite his lack of impact at the Etihad Stadium thus far.

The midfielder’s lack of club action has not yet affected his selection for Gareth Southgate’s England side.

Phillips completed 90 minutes as the Three Lions ran out 2-1 winners in Euro 2024 qualifying away at Italy last week (23 March).

The clash in Naples marked just the second time he has completed the full match distance this season – the only other time coming for Man City in FA Cup action against Bristol City.

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He has made 13 club appearances across all competitions this term, playing 342 minutes of football – and has started just twice.

Jack Grealish and Nathan Ake have just told two Man City signings how to change Pep Guardiola’s mind - Joe Bray - Manchester Evening News

Of the City regulars this season, almost all can admit they needed around a season to fully adapt to Pep Guardiola’s demands. Riyad Mahrez, Bernardo Silva, Rodri, Aymeric Laporte, Jack Grealish and Nathan Ake all struggled initially when they first signed. Phil Foden was given as much time as he needed to get ready for first-team football under Guardiola, while the likes of John Stones, Kyle Walker and even Kevin De Bruyne have had to re-adapt their game at times to the manager’s demands.

Even Sergio Aguero - a candidate for City’s greatest-ever player - had to re-learn and mould his game to Guardiola rather than vice-versa. Haaland hasn’t needed to do that.

But the flip side of Haaland’s brilliance is that many players have to be given the time to adapt to their new surroundings, new expectations, and a manager like no other. Grealish has started 13 of City’s last 15 games, but before that was firmly second choice on the wing. Until this season, Ake has never been given the luxury of regular starts or a regular position.

Only now have both been given a run of games are they showing what they have learned.

“In the back of my mind the fact that Pep is trusting me in big games helps the confidence,” Grealish said this week. “And I do feel I have repaid him, played my part, done well. And I think that is why he is keeping me in the team.

“When you feel fit and you are playing a lot of games, you just feel good in yourself and that’s what I’m doing at the moment. When you are playing week in, week out, it is so much easier to have a rhythm. That’s what I have at the moment.

Man City youngster reveals “huge” lessons experienced international duo are handing on - Graham Falk - Manchester World

Goalscorers Filippa Angeldahl and Lauren Hemp took the headlines with two sumptuous strikes but the 22-year-old Lionesses defender also recognised the importance of experienced defensive duo Steph Houghton and Alex Greenwood in the win and revealed how playing alongside them is aiding her own game.

“They just organise everyone else” said Morgan.

“There’s moments in the second half when Chelsea are coming at us and we are a little bit against it and struggling to maybe the clear the ball probably and get out of our own half but they’re just reassuring presences.

“Steph is so vocal in terms of organising everyone else on the pitch and Alex is a player you know will charge through and get her head on the ball when it’s being pumped into the box. You can look to these players and know they have your back and you think ‘yeah, we’re okay here’. You know they’ve been in situations like that with their backs to the wall and managed to fight through and win the game.

“It is huge having players like that around you”.

And finally... 8 MCWFC players have been called into the Lionesses squad.


Goalkeeping duo Ellie Roebuck and Sandy MacIver have both been given the nod alongside team-mates Alex Greenwood, Laura Coombs, Lauren Hemp and Chloe Kelly.

Esme Morgan is also recalled having been ruled out of the Lionesses’ successful Arnold Clark Cup defence in February through injury, while young City winger Jess Park – currently enjoying a successful loan spell at fellow WSL side Everton – also makes the cut.

Sarina Wiegman’s side begin the latest international break when they welcome Brazil to Wembley Stadium on Thursday 6 April for the inaugural Women’s Finalissima.

The fixture sees the European champions lock horns with their South American counterparts, with kick-off scheduled for 19:45 (UK).

Five days later, the Lionesses travel to the Brentford Community Stadium, where they will face upcoming World Cup hosts Australia.

There you have it. Stay with Bitter and Blue as we build toward the match with the Merseyside Reds. Come back tomorrow for more from Sky Blue News.