Kalvin Phillips has revealed that he never had any intention of joining Manchester United due to his close affiliation with their historic rivals Leeds.
The midfielder signed for Manchester City this summer from boyhood club Leeds in a deal worth £42m.
Born in the Yorkshire city, Phillips came through the club’s academy before eventually making his first-team breakthrough in the Championship. He has since established himself as one of the top defensive midfielders in the Premier League following promotion back to the top flight in 2020 – a rise to prominence that has seen him become a regular feature in Gareth Southgate’s England setup.
Having impressed a number of top clubs over the past two seasons, Phillips had the opportunity to join Man Utd, but he has revealed that he declined the opportunity due to his and his family’s close ties with Leeds, instead opting to join their United’s local rivals.
“Going to United? There was never any chance of me going there,” the 26-year-old told the Daily Mail while on pre-season tour with City. “You know my loyalty to Leeds. My family are all Leeds fans.
“I was honoured by United wanting me, one of the biggest teams in the world but, no, I had to stay loyal to Leeds and go to the other side of Manchester. It’s just the way I am. I want to be loyal to the people who have given me the biggest opportunity in the world.”
Discussing the challenge facing him at his new club, with Rodri ahead of him in the defensive midfield pecking order, he continued: “It’s a risk and reward thing. I want to come here and prove myself against the best players in the world.
“I know there will be times I’m pulling my hair out because it is so difficult but that is what I wanted. At Leeds I was the guy who needed to play every game, at City that isn’t the case. I need to get my head around that.”