Kalvin Phillips Injury

Kalvin Phillips Shoulder Injury: Everything we know


Kalvin Phillips suffered a massive setback after it was announced that the Man City midfielder will be undergoing surgery to treat a shoulder injury that he has been dealing with for some time now. There will be questions arising on if he will make it in time for the World Cup, whether his injury could have risked a summer transfer move, and most importantly, why leave it too late? 

In this article, we will be addressing all doubts and uncertainties regarding Kalvin Phillips shoulder injury because that’s what we do. Let’s get started.

Kalvin Phillips was signed by Premier League winners Man City as an ideal replacement for the departing Fernandinho. It hasn’t been a good start for the England International who suffered a right shoulder dislocation in a friendly against Barcelona earlier in the season, limiting his playing time to just 3 appearances so far. 

Kalvin Phillips’ injury woes started back in Leeds when he dislocated his right shoulder in the final game of the 2020/21 season. Although, it doesn’t take long to heal recurring dislocations of the shoulder joint are very common, especially in athletes. 

Shoulder joint and dislocations 

The shoulder joint (also known as the glenohumeral joint) is a typical ball and socket joint that is formed by the glenoid fossa of the scapula bone and the head of the humerus bone. Because of the anatomy of the human body, the glenoid fossa can only cover one-third of the head of the humerus due to which there is always a risk for the joint to pop out of its position.

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Note: The term ‘shoulder injury’ is used for glenohumeral joint dislocations but it is also used to denote AC joint dislocations. We will have an article on Acromioclavicular joint dislocations soon.

Inside Kalvin Phillips shoulder injury

Kalvin Phillips’ initial shoulder injury occurred back in the final moments of the final game of the 2020/21 season. The nature of his injury saw him falling on an externally rotated arm which is the classic mechanism of an anterior shoulder dislocation. Soon after the diagnosis was confirmed, Phillips decided to undergo conservative treatment since he didn’t want to miss the Euros. However, we know the risk of recurring dislocations is high due to the anatomy and high activity in football. 

Kalvin Phillips Shoulder Injury leeds 2020/21
Kalvin Phillips shoulder dislocation in 2020/21 season. Image by InjuryMechanisms

Although conservative treatment works for a lot of people, you still remain at risk for repeated dislocations. We have Matthijs De Ligt, for example, who underwent surgery after suffering from recurrent dislocations. Another case is of Adama Traore, who used baby oil in his arm to prevent the opposition from catching him and further aggravating his injured shoulder. 

Unfortunately for Kalvin Phillips, he suffered a subluxation in his right shoulder earlier this season. Subluxation means partial dislocation. Multiple subluxations/dislocations can lead to shoulder instability. Hence, both the club and the player decided to take up the surgical option and risk missing the World Cup.

Here’s an animation of how anterior dislocations are treated by surgery : 

Will Kalvin Phillips make the World Cup?

In football, you never say never, but in this case, you have to say no. Kalvin Phillips is expected to be out for around 3 months which makes it a really close call. I would look at this situation from three different perspectives:

Gareth Southgate

The England manager is fighting to retain his place as the Three Lions’ manager and the World Cup could be his last chance to do that. Southgate is not in a position to take risks now. To add to that, England are not a team with any sort of player crisis. They arguably have the most promising talents than any country in the world right now. 

Man City 

Man City would prefer Kalvin Phillips miss the World Cup and instead take time to recover from his injury. The club fixtures schedule after the World Cup is just insane and players will probably pick a lot of injuries because of the fixtures congestion. Man City would like to have the depth to compete on all fronts throughout the season. It is in the best interests of the club to protect their assets which leads me to believe City would be pretty happy with Phillips getting some much need time out.

Kalvin Phillips

As a player, it’s a dream to represent your country in the World Cup of course. Players would rather play injured than miss the biggest tournament in football. There’s no way Kalvin Phillips is turning down a chance to play in the WC if he’s called up. Football is a short career and you want to live in the moment as much as you can. Ultimately, you have to see how your body feels and then decide if you really want to risk it.

Final thoughts

As far as I understand, considering the injury history, surgery, and estimated time out, Kalvin Phillips is unlikely to be ready in time for the WC. His lack of match fitness doesn’t help the issue either. Any decision leading to him being involved in the WC would be unwise in my opinion.

This is one of the rare cases where my fan opinion and medical opinion agree with each other which is to let Kalvin Phillips rest during the World Cup in order to recover from his injury and focus on his Man City career. England have a lot of options in midfield even if Phillips doesn’t play, they have Declan Rice, Jude Bellingham, Mason Mount, Jordan Henderson, and James Ward-Prowse. Reece James and Trent Alexander-Arnold can also do a job in midfield if called upon. 

Finally, I hope you found our information helpful. Don’t forget to check out Injury Season for more injury updates.


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