Pep Guardiola described Erling Haaland as a born goalscorer after he claimed another hat-trick in Manchester City's derby rout of Manchester United, declaring: "what he is doing, I didn't teach him".

Haaland continued his fine start to life in England by playing a central role in City's 6-3 win over United, clinching a treble and adding two assists for fellow hat-trick hero Phil Foden.

The Norwegian – who has already hit 17 goals in all competitions this season – became the first player in Premier League history to score hat-tricks in three successive home games on Sunday.

His tally of five goal contributions at the Etihad Stadium, meanwhile, is the most recorded by a player in a single Premier League Manchester Derby.

Guardiola refused to take credit for the striker's form after the win, saying: "I said it many times and I will say again – what Erling is doing, he did in Norway, Austria and Germany.

"The quality we have alongside him helps him score, but what he is doing, I didn't teach him.

"He has incredible instincts. It comes from his mum and dad. He was born with that."

As well as laying on two goals for Foden, Haaland created a game-high four chances on Sunday, and Guardiola was delighted by the quality of his link-up play.

"I have had incredible centre-forwards in my career," Guardiola continued. "What I liked was in the last period of the game, he was involved. I want him to be involved.

"He became a player to score goals, but I want him in contact with the ball. I like him being part of those situations.

"But of course, he has to put the ball in the net, and he is a fantastic striker." 

Haaland has started all 11 of City's competitive games this term, and Guardiola plans to offer him the opportunity to rest at some point. 

"He will take a break. There will be games he is not going to play," he said.

"We are lucky, last season he could not play many games in a row – here we have incredible physios and thanks to them, he can play every 90 minutes.

"They are so important – with their hands, they allow players to play."

Pep Guardiola credited the quality of his forwards after Manchester City beat Manchester United 6-3 in Sunday's derby at the Etihad Stadium, but said his team can still improve on their emphatic display.

Hat-tricks from Erling Haaland and Phil Foden gave the Premier League champions victory, with the duo becoming the first City players to register trebles against United since Francis Lee in December 1970.

Erik ten Hag's United scored three in the second half to restore some pride, but in truth it was a comfortable win for Guardiola's men, who moved back to within one point of league leaders Arsenal.

"In general it was really good, how aggressive we were without the ball, they could not play," the City boss told Sky Sports. 

"[But] when they have Lisandro [Martinez] and Bruno [Fernandes] and [Christian] Eriksen, they have quality to play, we saw that for a few minutes in the second half.

"The quality of the players we had up front made the difference."

City were 4-0 up and cruising at half-time, but United rallied slightly in the second half, with Antony scoring from range to reduce the deficit before Anthony Martial clinched a brace after coming off the bench.

"We scored four goals, we could not really score more," Guardiola said of the first 45 minutes.

"At half-time we [said] we have to continue, but it's more difficult and [United] played better in the second half. 

"In the last minutes we were flat, but great victory, good game, everyone was happy in the stadium."

The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss also praised his team's desire, but said some of his players did not play well and insisted his team can do even better.

"This happened since we are here," he said of his team's appetite to win. "This is non-negotiable. We can win or lose, but effort and desire and helping each other [is most important].

"But, many things we can do better, and some players were still not good today and we have to improve."

A hat-trick each for Erling Haaland and Phil Foden gave Manchester City a 6-3 win against Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

It was a ruthless performance from the Premier League champions, who were four goals up at half-time after tearing United apart time and again with their pass and move football.

Antony scored with an excellent strike early in the second half and Anthony Martial came off the bench to add two more late on to make the score a bit more respectable, but it was an otherwise dominant showing from City against Erik ten Hag's men.

Pep Guardiola saw his team go back to within a point of leaders Arsenal at the top of the league, and remain the only unbeaten team in England's top flight this season.

Phil Foden became the youngest player to hit 50 goals in a Pep Guardiola team as he scored two in a first-half rampage by Manchester City in Sunday's derby.

The England international scored City's opener and added their fourth as the home side led Manchester United 4-0 at the break. They were his first goals in Manchester derbies, with this his eighth appearance in such a game.

Between those goals, Erling Haaland delivered another masterclass of finishing with a clinical double strike, and it was Haaland's cross that Foden fired in to reach his half-century.

It meant Foden got to 50 goals in all competitions for City at the age of 22 years and 127 days.

Lionel Messi was 22 years and 164 days old when he reached 50 under Guardiola at Barcelona.

To give that some context, it is important to remember Messi had played four seasons for Barcelona before Guardiola took charge ahead of the 2008-09 season, while Foden has only ever played for Guardiola in City's first team.

Messi reached 50 for Guardiola in just his second season under the Spanish boss, while Foden made his City debut almost five years ago, in a Champions League game against Feyenoord.

Pep Guardiola left Ruben Dias and Aymeric Laporte on the bench for Manchester City's clash with Manchester United, while Rodri missed out altogether for the Premier League champions with injury.

City manager Guardiola made three changes for the first Manchester derby of the season, with Manuel Akanji and Nathan Ake operating at centre-back.

John Stones was another absentee due to a hamstring injury sustained on international duty, while Guardiola decided to name Dias among the substitutes as Kyle Walker came in at right-back.

Fitness issues for Rodri ruled the Spain international out of the clash at Etihad Stadium, with Ilkay Gundogan starting in midfield behind Jack Grealish, Phil Foden and the in-form Erling Haaland up top.

"It is an injury. Yesterday in the training session he felt something. It was a little more than a niggle in his leg so we did not want to take the risk," Guardiola told Sky Sports of Rodri's injury.

"It is an important role but a strength the biggest clubs have is that excuses don't exist. Nobody is second in the locker room."

Erik ten Hag made just one alteration to his side that defeated Sheriff last time out in the Europa League as Diogo Dalot replaced Cristiano Ronaldo, who dropped to the bench.

Casemiro was again forced to settle for a place among the substitutes, with United head coach Ten Hag opting for Scott McTominay and Christian Eriksen in midfield.

Marcus Rashford kept his place in the starting XI despite injury concerns over the international break, while Antony Martial was deemed fit enough to make the bench.

Pep Guardiola believes Manchester City will continue to be "perfect" when he leaves the club.

The 51-year-old is in the final year of his current deal and has refused to be drawn on questions around his future beyond this season.

Guardiola has had a successful spell at City since arriving in 2016, winning four Premier League titles, four EFL Cups and an FA Cup.

Speaking to Sky Sports ahead of the derby against Manchester United on Sunday, the City boss said he is just focused on his immediate duties, but did say he has no concerns about the club's prospects even when he does finally depart.

"I would say my future is lunchtime because I'm starving. I didn't have breakfast," he initially joked.

"When I started to be a manager I think 'next month, next week' but for years [now] I think 'what a waste of energy' thinking what's going to happen next season.

"I want to enjoy the preparation for United, be part of another derby, try to beat them... three days later we have another Champions League game, we prepare for that one, this is my job.

"The moment happens with the club [when] we are going to decide but as I said in the press conference, if I stay here, perfect, if I don't stay here, the club will be perfect too because I know how strong they are and how good [their decisions are]."

Guardiola will go head-to-head against his former Bayern Munich colleague Erik ten Hag at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, with the Dutchman having coached the club's second team when Guardiola was in charge of the first team in Bavaria.

The former Barcelona head coach said he was happy to see people like Ten Hag and new Brighton and Hove Albion boss Roberto De Zerbi in the Premier League as he is a fan of their approaches.

"[When Ten Hag was at Ajax] what he has done speaks for itself," he said. "Of course, Ajax always demand so I think this approach, positivity... honestly I'm so happy that he's here in England.

"I like it when, for example, Roberto De Zerbi is now in Brighton, I like managers that have this spirit to be positive and it doesn't matter [who] the opponent [is], if you are stronger or weaker, 'I go and try to do my game'.

"When you have two teams, both have to adjust a little bit to the other one in a way, but [when you] say to your players 'be ourselves to do it', the football game is always nice."

Pep Guardiola called on Manchester United to give Erik ten Hag time to implement his ideas ahead of his first Manchester derby meeting with the Dutchman.

Ten Hag, who worked with Guardiola when he coached Bayern Munich's second team between 2013 and 2015, will lead United at the Etihad Stadium for the first time on Sunday.

With Manchester City in imperious form, Ten Hag will look to avoid following the example set by United's last five managers (David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick) – all of whom lost their first Premier League clash with City.

United are enduring a five-year trophy drought and have yet to mount a serious Premier League title challenge since Alex Ferguson's retirement in 2013, and Guardiola stressed the importance of allowing Ten Hag time to cement his approach and style of play.

"We know each other a little bit from Munich but he has done an incredible job across Europe, so I can't say anything else," Guardiola said of Ten Hag.

"Everyone knows it depends on results, if you win in the big clubs you have time, if you don't win you are in trouble."

Asked whether United's run without silverware made Ten Hag's task more difficult, Guardiola said: "I don't know, imagine if you took over after winning the Premier League and Champions League, maybe it might be tougher. But I don't know, the more you do well the better. 

"The result is a part, but the club has to watch training, how they handle problems and whatever, but if they trust [him] then give time. 

"In football, like many things in life, it needs time. If you change managers often it is difficult."  

Guardiola also revealed he enjoys a friendship with United legend Ferguson, adding: "We went for dinner once or twice, and we send messages, he is always so nice to me. 

"Not before a derby! But when we play at Old Trafford he has a box, and he offers me wine and I have loads of respect. He is a legend and I like having that relationship."

Meanwhile, speculation has cantered on whether Guardiola's own spell in Manchester, in which he has delivered four Premier League titles and five domestic cups, could soon be over, with his contract set to expire at the end of the campaign.

Guardiola is yet to agree to fresh terms, but does not expect City to struggle whenever he eventually departs, adding: "The club knows exactly the target for the next step.

"There will not be a problem. They know what they have to do. When the club depends on one person there are problems, but we have solid foundations. 

"If the club just depends on Pep, we are not doing well."

City have won their last seven Premier League home games, scoring three or more goals in each of those victories.

The last English team to win eight successive top-flight matches while scoring three or more goals in each was Tottenham, who did so between March and September 1965.

While City will have one eye set on matching that feat, another win over United would be their 18th in the Premier League, the joint-most any team has claimed against the Red Devils in the competition (also Chelsea and Liverpool). 

Manchester City and Manchester United face off for the 188th time this weekend, yet for respective managers Pep Guardiola and Erik ten Hag the contest at the Etihad Stadium will be their first ever meeting.

That is not to say the pair are unacquainted with one another, though. In fact, that could not be further from the truth, with the two men sharing very similar philosophies and having previously worked closely at Bayern Munich.

While Ten Hag may be a year older than his counterpart at 52, the Dutchman was the apprentice and Guardiola the master during that overlapping period in Bavaria between 2013 and 2015.

"That time was enormously valuable for me. I remember it well," Ten Hag told Bild in 2018. "Many people in Holland shook their heads when I left the Eredivisie for the Regionalliga."

No wonder. Ten Hag was a burgeoning head coach after guiding Go Ahead Eagles to their first promotion in 17 years in his only season at the club.

The decision to then take charge of Bayern Munich II, the reserve side of a Bayern team that were enjoying a period of sustained success under Guardiola at the time, was a big surprise.

For Ten Hag, the sideways move – at best – was considered an opportunity to learn from Guardiola and a better path for his long-term career. The past decade suggests that was the correct call.

Ten Hag went on to manage Ajax for four-and-a-half years following success with fellow Eredivisie club Utrecht, before being handpicked by United as the man to bring trophies back to Old Trafford – or so they hope.

"I never regretted the decision," Ten Hag recalled in that interview with the German outlet. "Working for a club as big as Bayern with such formative personalities as Pep Guardiola and also Matthias Sammer was like winning the lottery."

Ten Hag's possession-based style – though adaptable as we have come to see in his first two months at United – has drawn natural comparisons to compatriot Johan Cruyff, a man Guardiola himself took a great deal of inspiration from.

Rather than the 'Total Football' that was developed and famed by Cruyff, though, Ten Hag looked to do things the 'Guardiola Way' across his four full seasons with Ajax, during which time he won three Eredivisie titles and took the Dutch giants within seconds of a Champions League final.

"His philosophy is sensational," Ten Hag said of Guardiola in 2019. "What he did in Barcelona, Bayern and now with Manchester City, that attacking and attractive style sees him win a lot. It's this structure I've tried to implement with Ajax."

Implement it he did, and so impressed were United they not only went all out to land the Dutchman, despite it being apparent that Mauricio Pochettino would be available, they allowed him to also have a huge say in transfer activity ahead of his first season at the helm.

Of the five senior players signed, two joined directly from Ajax (Lisandro Martinez and Antony), one had previously played for the Eredivisie side and came through their youth ranks (Christian Eriksen), and another had spent his entire career to date playing in the Dutch top flight (Tyrell Malacia).

With that level of turnover both on the field and in the dugout, patience was always likely to be required among United fans. Two games in, the Red Devils found themselves bottom of the division after losing by an aggregate 6-1 scoreline against Brighton and Hove Albion and Brentford.

Not so much 'Total Football', but 'Total Rubbish' in the view of many. While not as extreme, Ten Hag also made slow starts at previous clubs, including first side Go Ahead Eagles when drawing two and losing one of his first three games, and also at Utrecht with a record of two wins, two draws and two defeats.

With four wins from four since the Brentford debacle, it is fair to say Ten Hag has slowly won supporters over ahead of his first taste of the Manchester derby. Not that it has come as any surprise to Guardiola, the man seeking a fifth Premier League title in the past six seasons with City.

"He is a top-class manager and his teams are a joy to watch. Watch his Ajax team and you see his qualities," Guardiola said upon confirmation of Ten Hag's appointment at United in April. 

"To define a manager you just have to take a look at his teams for a long time and this is a team where their manager makes them play. There's no doubt about that. But the relationship we had was incredibly good."

In an alternate universe, Ten Hag would have spent another season or two in the Dutch capital before succeeding Guardiola in the Etihad Stadium dugout. Indeed, Guardiola said as much earlier this year.

"Are you asking me if Erik ten Hag could be here? Definitely," Guardiola said at a news conference when asked if the then-Ajax coach was the right sort of candidate to replace him one day.

Instead, it will be Guardiola versus Ten Hag, City against United this weekend on a day when any sort of friendship or respect will take a back seat.

For Guardiola, it is another opportunity to prove why he remains a true master; for Ten Hag, a chance to show that his apprenticeship has been put to good use.

Premier League football returns in full fashion this weekend for the first time in four weeks, with the Manchester derby a highlight.

Free-scoring Manchester City have excelled so far this term, only dropping points in draws against Aston Villa and Newcastle United, while Manchester United have won their past four after starting the season with back-to-back losses.

United have already shown intent in key matches with victories against Arsenal and Liverpool, while City are yet to face one of the established 'top six' after their clash with Tottenham was postponed.

Ahead of the game, Stats Perform has dived into the Opta stats to highlight the key angles of the match.

City's pursuit of dominance

Victory for City would mark the third in a row in the Premier League against United for the first time since a streak of four wins between April 2013 and November 2014 – including a 4-1 triumph in this fixture last season.

Defeat for United would also be their 18th in the Premier League against their cross-city rivals, equalling Liverpool and Chelsea for the most losses they have suffered in the history of the competition.

City were last beaten at home against Tottenham in February and have lost only 15 of 117 Premier League matches at the Etihad Stadium with Pep Guardiola at the helm, though he has won only two of six in the league against United at the venue.

United's solid form

Four victories in a row in the Premier League for United, on the back of four consecutive defeats, has put Erik ten Hag's side in good form heading into a crucial stage of the season and the club have not won five league games on the spin since April 2021 under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

While City have home advantage on Sunday, the away side in the Manchester derby have won 21 times in the Premier League, with no fixture being won by the visitors more times in the competition's history – three of those being for United against Guardiola's City.

United have also won two of their past three against City at the Etihad Stadium, with a 2-0 victory in March 2021 and a 2-1 triumph in December 2019.

Haaland's haunts

Hat-tricks in back-to-back Premier League home matches heading into the Manchester derby have put Erling Haaland in with an opportunity to secure further history, with no player in the competition's history netting a treble in three consecutive home games before.

City's dominance at home is not just down to the former Borussia Dortmund man, however, as they have won each of their past seven Premier League matches at home, scoring at least three goals on each occasion – a run that stretches back to last season.

No team have won eight straight matches in the top flight of English football while scoring at least three goals in each since Tottenham between March and September 1965.

Guardiola's free-scoring side have scored 10 goals in the first half of matches and 13 in the second half, both of which are more than the eight goals United have in total – while United have conceded 75 per cent of their goals in the opening half (6/8).

Ten Hag seeks to end sorry run

Ten Hag has never faced off against Guardiola during the pair's managerial career and he will be looking to end a sorry run for United managers in his first Manchester derby since taking over at the club.

Each of the five previous United managers to have taken charge of a Premier League match against City in the league have lost their first – with David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick all suffering defeats.

That leaves Alex Ferguson as the last United manager to win his first league match against City, which came way back in March 1987.

Manchester City will be without John Stones for Sunday's derby against Manchester United, Pep Guardiola has confirmed.

The centre-back was taken off during England's 3-3 draw with Germany on Monday with a hamstring issue.

Speaking at a press conference on Friday, Guardiola said Stones will likely be out for up to two weeks, meaning he will miss the clash with United as well as potentially another three games.

"He will be back when he will be ready," he said, later clarifying: "I think it will not be four, five, six weeks, it will be less. I don't know when he will come back but I think maybe 10 days, two weeks."

There was better news for another City defender though, with Aymeric Laporte back in training.

"Training really well," his manager said. "Training alone because everyone was with national teams, but yesterday and today he feels good."

City welcome an in-form United to the Etihad Stadium, with Erik ten Hag's men winning their last four Premier League games, leading to the Dutchman securing September's manager of the month award.

"I always expect the best," Guardiola said. "They come with good results against tough sides, with Southampton it's not easy but especially Liverpool and Arsenal at home, and yeah, good momentum for them."

The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss also compared the Manchester derby to El Clasico and Der Klassiker, suggesting it has been easier to manage derbies in Germany and England since his time in LaLiga.

"In Spain, Barcelona and [Real] Madrid is more noisy the days before, more media, everything. The rest, in Germany, here, perfect. You can work, people expecting, enjoy to watch the derby, that's all.

"It's important, big rival in the city. We will try to figure out what we're going to do and what we can do to beat them. No more than that.

"In these kind of games you don't have to make extra emotion, everyone knows it. The stadium will be full... I'm looking forward to it."

Erling Haaland could reach 40 goals in a record-breaking debut campaign with Manchester City, according to former Liverpool and England striker Emile Heskey.

Haaland has hit the ground running since joining the Premier League champions from Borussia Dortmund, scoring 14 goals in his first 10 games for Pep Guardiola's men in all competitions.

That tally includes 11 goals in seven Premier League appearances, and the Norwegian was named the competition's Player of the Month after scoring nine goals in five outings in August – the best return managed by any player in their first five games in the competition.

The striker's rich vein of form suggests he could trouble the record for most goals in a single Premier League season, which is jointly held by Andrew Cole and Alan Shearer (34 goals in 1993-94 and 1994-95 respectively).

Heskey has now backed Haaland to enjoy a historic campaign off the back of his fine start, telling Stats Perform: "I think he will break the records. 

"I think he's at the right club to break the records, and I think he's fantastic because he's adapted very, very well. 

"He's adapted to being the main player in a team like Dortmund; probably linking up play, getting him behind, being that main person to get on the board… to now really not having too many touches because he doesn't need to. 

"I know we talked about how he hasn't been involved in this, he doesn't need to. I think Pep is very specific with the jobs of the players. 

"When I look at Pep's teams, I see them change the personnel, but the actual delivery is exactly the same. So he's very clever to actually to fit into that role and still score goals.

"He's very, very intelligent. He's showing his intelligence because then he'll go away with the national team and it'll be totally different, but he'll still be scoring goals. 

"I think he'll break every record to be honest with you, he could easily score 40 this season."

Haaland has scored a hat-trick on each of his last two home Premier League appearances (against Crystal Palace and Nottingham Forest).

Should the Norwegian repeat those heroics in Sunday's clash with rivals Manchester United, he will become the first player to score hat-tricks in three consecutive home matches in the competition's history.

The last player to score as many as three home hat-tricks in a single Premier League campaign, meanwhile, was City legend Sergio Aguero in the 2018-19 season

Jack Grealish admitted he is "more structured" at Manchester City than he was at Aston Villa, but believes it is an inevitability of playing with "so many great players".

Grealish moved to City from Villa in 2021 for a record £100million fee, but has struggled to have the same impact he did at his boyhood club.

The 27-year-old has come in for some criticism in the media, though replied with a goal and a strong performance in Saturday's 3-0 win at Wolves.

Kevin De Bruyne recently stated his belief that his club team-mate is more harshly judged because of who he is, and Grealish somewhat agrees.

"I can see where he's coming from a little bit," he said at a press conference ahead of England's Nations League clash against Italy. "But I think that's the way it is in this country, especially for myself playing for one of the biggest clubs in the world who are winning trophies every single year.

"When I have the price tag I do on my head people are going to want to talk... I have to embrace it and it's just part and parcel [of the game] really."

Grealish has completed 11 dribbles in all competitions for City this season in just six appearances. Only Joao Cancelo (10 appearances) has completed more with 17.

He also spoke of his relationship with Pep Guardiola, and his "structured" role at the Etihad Stadium.

"It’s completely different than the way I was at Villa," Grealish said. "At Villa I was more free, here I'm more structured.

"I have a great relationship with the manager. I've said it in many interviews, its unbelievable the way he thinks and looks at football. He's just obsessed with it and I think you can see why. I have a good relationship with him.

"People might be saying that I have been playing different than the way I used to but I think that's because of the different players I'm playing with as well. I've played with so many great players... It's going to change my game."

One of those "great players" is Erling Haaland, who has hit the ground running at City after arriving from Borussia Dortmund at the end of last season, scoring 14 goals in 10 games so far.

"Everywhere I go people are like 'What's he like?' and I can't speak highly enough of him," Grealish added.

"He's an unbelievable player and a brilliant person. So humble for what he's achieved already and I think I could get something from him. His mindset for scoring goals is just unbelievable."

Pep Guardiola is "happy to help" Roberto De Zerbi at Brighton and Hove Albion, according to the Premier League's newest coach, although the idea of matching the Manchester City manager's football is "unreachable".

Guardiola and De Zerbi have long shared a mutual admiration due to their sides' respective styles of play.

And the Italian, after impressing as Sassuolo coach and then seeing his stay at Shakhtar Donetsk cut short, has now joined the City great in England.

Speaking following his appointment at Brighton, De Zerbi disclosed a conversation he had with Guardiola about his new high-flying club, who lost previous coach Graham Potter to Chelsea.

"For me, it's very easy to start working here at Brighton, because I know the work that has been done by Potter before," De Zerbi said.

"There are a lot of players that are close to my idea of football. They have the right characteristics, especially mentally.

"I want to play my football and be as brave as I want. It's clear that now I take a team that is fourth in the table, but this is giving me much more motivation.

"I think Guardiola's football is unreachable – he has shown a superb kind of football in the UK, similarly to his time in Spain and Germany.

"[Guardiola] is very happy I am on board here. He told me very good things about the club. He told me if I need he will be happy to help me – of course not in the match we are playing against them."

Brighton are yet to face City this season, travelling to the Etihad Stadium next month.

Bruno Fernandes has commended Erik ten Hag for instilling "a style" and the requisite "discipline" at Manchester United, comparing the Dutchman's early approach to that of Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp.

The former Ajax boss succeeded interim predecessor Ralf Rangnick at the end of the last Premier League campaign and spent the pre-season looking to reshape the Old Trafford club following a dire 2021-22 term.

After something of a tough transfer window, a poor start to the new season saw Ten Hag drop captain Harry Maguire and left-back Luke Shaw – and since then, United have gone unbeaten domestically, lying fifth before the international break.

Reflecting on what Ten Hag has brought to the club over the past few months, Fernandes says he has enforced his plans with great emphasis.

"He has an idea, he has a style," Fernandes told The Athletic. "You have to follow his rules, he is strict on that. I like that.

"He has brought discipline, which is something I think we missed in the past. Everyone must be on the same page.

"That is what Pep and Klopp have been doing for years, because they have stability in the club, and in the way they choose the transfer market and build the team.

"I saw the manager say that we do not want to bring players just for the sake of it, we want to bring the right players for what we want to do.

"It is something the club needs. We still have a margin to improve, and he needs time to get the most out of us. I believe we will get to the point with him where are established as a team and everyone is on the same page."

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola confirmed Kalvin Phillips is set to undergo shoulder surgery but remains hopeful the midfielder could return to action ahead of England's World Cup campaign.

Phillips, a key member of Gareth Southgate's side that reached the Euro 2020 final on home turf last year, made a £42million move to City from Leeds United during the close season.

Fitness issues have restricted the 26-year-old to only three cameos off the bench for the reigning Premier League champions, with Phillips entirely absent for Saturday's 3-0 win over Wolves.

Now the defensive midfielder, named by England for this month's final pre-World Cup games in the Nations League against Italy and Germany, looks likely to require an operation to deal with a persistent shoulder issue.

"It's a problem with his shoulder again," Guardiola said when asked about Phillips' absence for the Wolves match. "Maybe he will need surgery in the next days.

"It will be not long, but a little bit longer. The doctors say that when you are out three or four times with the shoulder, the only solution is to have surgery."

It marks a major blow for both Phillips and Southgate, with the former's chances of making the plane to Qatar now in the balance, and the manager left with a selection headache for his starting XI.

Despite limited minutes, Phillips would likely have resumed the double-pivot pairing with West Ham's Declan Rice in front of an England defensive line.

His potential absence could force Southgate into a change in formation, with Jude Bellingham and Jordan Henderson among the options pushing for a starting berth.

England kick off their World Cup campaign against Iran in a little over nine weeks' time, with the upcoming games against Italy and Germany providing Southgate with a final chance to see his side in action before the tournament begins.

Guardiola said there was "no way" Phillips could feature in either contest.

Asked if he could provide a timeline for the former Leeds player's return, Guardiola said: "I don't know, I am not a doctor.

"But in a good way he could arrive at the World Cup. I think so, but I am not a doctor. The doctor says the only solution right now is to do what we have to do."

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