Pep Guardiola has revealed Kalvin Phillips rejected the chance to go out on loan this summer, with the Manchester City boss implying that he could play a part in his squad this season.
It comes after the 27-year-old struggled for game-time during his maiden season at the club after signing for £45million in the summer of 2022.
While he was a pivotal player at Leeds, a frustrating shoulder injury kept him sidelined on his arrival at the Etihad, before he fell down in the Spanish manager's pecking order, making just four starts last season, with his full debut coming seven months after he initially signed for the club.
Guardiola has previously admitted that Phillips has struggled to cope with the speed at which his side plays at, with speculation linking him with a move to several other clubs around Europe, including West Ham and Bayern Munich.
But the England midfielder has held firm on his commitment to Man City, insisting in June that he wanted to stay at the Treble winning champions and Guardiola has now revealed that Phillips rejected the opportunity to leave the club to get more playing time.
Guardiola said as cited by Sports Central: 'We talked with him and the club with the chance to maybe go on loan because he did not have a lot of minutes. 'But he decided "no, I want to stay". He is more than welcome. 'As a good guy who accepts everything and stays, they are welcome. When we finish the transfer window, every player here is part of the family and are going to help.'
Last season, Guardiola had criticised his midfielder for being overweight after he came back from the Qatar World Cup.
Despite that, he had also encouraged his player to 'show him he deserves to stay at City' and 'earn the manager's confidence.'
Phillips has featured just once during City's 2023-24 campaign, playing six minutes during their 5-1 win against Fulham.
Despite that, he played the full 90 minutes of England's 3-1 win against Scotland last week and Guardiola lauded his performance for Gareth Southgate's side, claiming he was impressed with how he played.
The City manager added: 'First I want to say I'm really pleased for the game he played because he is an exceptional guy and I love working with these kind of people, as I've said many times. 'Of course, he has not had much minutes in the past, I don't know what is going to happen but it is important for him, and for me as well, to have this good performance.
City are currently without midfielders Kevin De Bruyne, Mateo Kovacic and Jack Grealish, who have all been ruled out with injuries.
But their injury woes could open the door for more opportunities for Phillips, with Guardiola stating he needs to be ready should he be called upon.
He said: 'He can improve, because the dynamic he came from was completely the opposite. He stayed with us and the players we have the squad that are now injured, it is important that he is ready. '.