Everton has expressed interest in bringing Manchester City midfielder Kalvin Phillips to Goodison Park on loan. The Englishman was an integral part of Leeds’ return to the Premier League and subsequent survival for one season. Upon moving away, Leeds suffered relegation to the Championship. However, it has not been easy for Phillips, who has made just 31 appearances for the Sky Blues over two years. Eventually, City sent Phillips out on loan during the January transfer window to West Ham United. There, he made 10 appearances in the Premier League and Europa League.

For a time, Phillips was one of the best midfielders in England. His performances with Leeds made him a frequent selection for Gareth Southgate and the Three Lions. He started every game at Euro 2020 as England went on to the Final. Alongside Declan Rice, Phillips looked like a confident role in the middle of the field.

The move to Manchester City has plagued what was a promising career. The lack of appearances has forced Phillips out of favor in Southgate’s eyes. Despite regularly featuring for England without playing for City, Phillips failed to make the cut for the Euro 2024 provisional squad. Instead, Southgate opted for players with regular minutes like Conor Gallagher, Kobbie Mainoo or recent breakout star Adam Wharton of Crystal Palace.

Phillips still has time to salvage his career with positive moves. Even if it did not work out at West Ham United, Everton can give Kalvin Phillips a path to success like he found at Leeds.

Lower expectations, more opportunity for Kalvin Phillips at Everton

Two things hampered Kalvin Phillips more than any other at Manchester City. He had an enormous price tag that was effectively out of his control. Manchester City paid a stunning $50 million for Phillips in a questionable move even at the time. Secondly, he lacked regular minutes. That is what made his move to the Etihad such a perplexing one. City, usually careful and coordinated in the transfer market, brought Phillips over at a time when the pack of midfielders at the club was notably potent. Kevin de Bruyne, Rodri and Ilkay Gundogan all had a role in the midfield. Even if City were to push Phillips higher out of his natural spot, he would have to compete against the likes of young stars Phil Foden, Cole Palmer and Jack Grealish.

That is something that Everton does not have: a luxury of talent in the midfield. Amadou Onana, Abdoulaye Doucoure and Idrissa Gana Gueye are strong candidates. However, Phillips has shown even through his rough stints with Manchester City and West Ham that he has ability. A dominant force in the air, Phillips can be composed on the ball. The issue for him remains confidence. His loss of possession with West Ham was costly for David Moyes’ side on several occasions.

To be fair, West Ham’s defense was dismal. Having a secure backline behind him like the one at Everton, which had the fourth-best defensive record in the Premier League based on goals against, can allow Phillips to play more freely. Therefore, he can express himself as a passer, which was likely the reason Manchester City targeted him in the first place in 2022. Everton is a club that does not possess, and his long-ball ability could work well within the squad.