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England midfielder Kalvin Phillips won his race to be fit for the World Cup after surgery – but almost ended his chances in a freak gym accident.
The Manchester City player revealed he dropped a weight on his foot in a gym session just two days after he was named in Gareth Southgate’s squad.
Phillips, 26, displayed puncture wounds in his foot as he spoke to reporters.
“If it wasn’t a 5kg plate, if it had been heavier, I think it would have been a lot worse,” he said.
Addressing the media in Qatar ahead of England’s first game against Iran on Monday, he explained: “It’s quite a good story to be honest.
“Before the City game against Brentford [last weekend], being the professional that I am, I went to the gym before the match and was just doing loads of Achilles work on the leg press.
“I’d gone to pull a weight off the rack and there must have been one stuck behind it, and I pulled it off and it landed straight on my foot and cut it all.
“But it’s not too bad – it’s the blisters from training that hurt more. It isn’t too bad, but I stood for about 10 seconds and thought: ‘Oh my god, what was that?’”
Phillips had only played 14 minutes of competitive football this season before being named in the 26-man squad after undergoing surgery for a shoulder problem.
“My shoulder is fine now. I had the operation about seven and a half weeks ago,” he said.
“It was a 12-week recovery, but I did a lot more than I should have done. I wanted to recover quicker so I could go to the World Cup and I’m here now.”