England midfielder Kalvin Phillips says his time at Manchester City was "stressful" - and his loan move to West Ham has made him feel "more alive".
The 28-year-old made only six starts for Pep Guardiola's side following a £42m switch from Leeds in 2022.
His City spell included criticism from the manager over his weight - which Phillips said knocked his confidence.
"Now I'm here at West Ham and playing, I feel a lot more alive," he said, following his January move south.
"I still loved the game, it just changed my way of thinking a little bit," Phillips told the Observer.
"The game wasn't letting me down but the fact I had nothing to look forward to kind of pushed me away.
"Now I'm here at West Ham and playing, I feel a lot more alive. It's not starting from scratch, it's starting afresh."
Guardiola had said Phillips reported back overweight after being at the 2022 World Cup with England.
"After the World Cup was probably the toughest, when Pep came out and said I was overweight," Phillips said.
"He was right to do so but there are different ways to go about it.
"I did not disagree with him but obviously I took a big knock on my confidence and how I felt at City. And my family were not happy about it, either. Especially my mum.
"It was just a misunderstanding and I think he was very frustrated with me coming back 1.5kg over my weight target."
Phillips won the Treble with City last season and the Club World Cup in December, but was a fringe player who saw midfielders Mateo Kovacic and Matheus Nunes arrive in the summer to provide even more competition for places.
It means Phillips played just 380 Premier League minutes for the Blues in the Premier League before leaving on loan last month.
"It wasn't a nightmare at City, it was just stressful," said Phillips, who now hopes regular football can cement his place in the England squad for this summer's European Championships.
He said he spoke to England boss Gareth Southgate about his move before opting for West Ham, with Juventus and Newcastle also being options for him.
England team-mate, Arsenal's former West Ham midfielder Declan Rice, also sold the club to him before Hammers boss David Moyes convinced him it was the right move.
"I felt like if I wasn't going to play at City, I want to go to a club where I'm wanted," Phillips added.
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