Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has provided an update on Kevin De Bruyne’s injury situation as his side prepare for their Premier League opener against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.
The midfielder picked up an ankle injury playing for Belgium during the European Championship this summer and has missed all of City’s pre-season as a result, so he is unlikely to feature in the first few weeks of the season as he continues his recovery.
Guardiola provided an update on De Bruyne’s situation recently, saying: “He’s getting better, every day. We’re still waiting. He cannot do the full training session, some with us and some alone. We’ll see what happens in the next days.”
Whilst it is good news that the 30-year-old has returned to the training pitch, if he cannot complete a full session yet, then it is hard to imagine him being named in the squad to face Spurs this weekend, which is a huge blow to City’s chances of picking up three points against Nuno Espirito Santo’s side.
Given that De Bruyne was one of the standout performers in the Premier League last season as City won the title, it is far from ideal that he is unavailable as they begin their title defence this weekend, especially at a ground where the Citizens have struggled in recent seasons.
The former Wolfsburg man made 25 appearances in the top-flight, contributing six goals and 12 assists, averaging a superb 7.65 rating from WhoScored, which ranked him as the top performer in Guardiola’s squad.
Although the manager might well have a ready-made replacement for the Belgian in Jack Grealish, it is difficult to know how the 25-year-old will adapt following his £100m move from Aston Villa, and it would be unfair to expect him to replicate De Bruyne’s goal and assist numbers straight away.
Given that De Bruyne’s condition was no doubt worsened by the fact that he played with the injury against Italy in the quarter-finals of Euro 2020, City fans will no doubt be frustrated that he is missing the start of the campaign, especially when you consider the tough start to the season they have been handed.