Football

Man City's World Cup players set to miss start of EPL season

The likes of de Bruyne, Sterling and Stones are unlikely to play in Community Shield on Aug 5 and Arsenal match on Aug 12

Manchester City’s World Cup representatives could miss the Community Shield tie against Chelsea and Premier League opener against Arsenal as they recover from a sustained period of club and international action, manager Pep Guardiola has said.

Guardiola’s title-winning squad had 16 players at the tournament in Russia, including England’s John Stones and Raheem Sterling, Spain’s David Silva, Brazil’s Ederson and Gabriel Jesus among others.

Following the conclusion of the tournament last Sunday, a majority of City’s first-team players have yet to resume full training and Guardiola said he will not rush them back.

“It is what it is,” Guardiola said. “We spoke – they have to come back ready. If the days before they are tired and they don’t want to fight for the Community Shield, play at Arsenal, then stay on holidays.

“We cannot forget what we’ve done, but we start again. If they are ready, they’ll help us and if not, we’ll wait for them. If they are not mentally and physically ready, they won’t come back.”

Guardiola also spoke of his disappointment in missing out on transfer target Jorginho after the Italy midfielder joined Chelsea on a five-year deal last weekend.

“I was disappointed (not to sign him),” he added. “We tried but players have to go where they go.

“It would have been a mistake for him if he came and he wanted to go to Chelsea with (new manager) Maurizio Sarri. If they want to come, that’s great but, if he wants to go to Chelsea, all the best for him.

“My advice is always go where they want to go.”

City play FA Cup winners Chelsea in the Community Shield on Aug 5 and begin their title defence at Arsenal a week later. – REUTERS

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