Football

Forgotten man in exalted Kompany

Of late, he has been the Premiership's forgotten man.

But Manchester City defender Vincent Kompany put himself back into the spotlight with a virtuoso performance, which included a goal, in their 3-0 win over Southampton yesterday morning (Singapore time).

The 31-year-old Belgian's first Premiership goal in 20 months prompted an outpouring of relief, frustration and even praise, after two injury-ravaged seasons. His emotional celebration in the 55th minute, as he punched the air in delight after scoring with a header, said it all.

Kompany, who has started just 21 of City's last 102 games, told BT Sport of his anguish over the last two terms.

He said: "I would've liked to be injured less in my career, but every single time I've put in the hard work (to get back).

"When this happens, I feel I'm giving something back to the fans. I'm finally giving something back to the team and that's what you see in that moment...

"It's ups and downs in football, but ultimately what gets you up is you keep looking towards your objective.

"If I had to work 15 years to have just one moment like this, I would.

"I scored in front of the away fans and, for me, it was a great feeling. I feel like I want to give so much but I am restrained at times, but I keep positive and keep going no matter what."

Kompany also caught the eye with his faultless defensive display, which pleased City manager Pep Guardiola.

He told the BBC: "Every manager Vincent Kompany has played under knows what an important player he is."

"Finally, in recent games he has played, he has delivered performances and hopefully he can stay fit... I want him fit enough to play every week - he has suffered for long periods but he is a real, real central defender."

Even his former rivals were effusive of praise.

This included ex-Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard, who told BT Sport: "If they had him fit, they'd probably have the league in the bag."

City face Arsenal on Sunday in the semi-finals of the FA Cup, which is Guardiola's most realistic chance for silverware this term. - WIRE SERVICES

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