Pep Guardiola has confirmed that both Phil Foden and Kevin De Bruyne will be out for ‘a while’, ahead of Saturday’s Community Shield clash with Leicester City.
The champions are currently in the midst of a high profile summer of recruitment, having recently announced the signing of Aston Villa skipper Jack Grealish in the top-flight’s first £100m deal, while they are also at the centre of persistent speculation regarding a potential move for Tottenham Hotspur striker, Harry Kane.
Despite those potential incomings, the club are set for a far from ideal start to the new season, with injury set to rule out both Phil Foden and Kevin De Bruyne for ‘a while’, the two men having featured for England and Belgium respectively at Euro 2020.
“Phil will be out for a while, a tough injury, we have to be careful with it,” Guardiola said at his pre-match press conference.
“Kevin still is out. I think he will come back a bit sooner than Phil apparently. But both are still out for a while.”
The champions kick-off the new campaign with this weekend’s Wembley curtain-raiser, before beginning their defence of the title with an eagerly anticipated clash with Tottenham Hotspur next weekend.
That swift return to domestic action comes following a jam-packed summer of international football, a large chunk of the City squad having featured for their country at the European Championship, leaving the former Barcelona boss with limited options to face the Foxes.
🗣"If Tottenham don't want to negotiate it is finished, many clubs want to sign him but depends on Tottenham."
Pep Guardiola says Manchester City are interested in signing Harry Kane this summer but only if Tottenham want to negotiate with them pic.twitter.com/gkKCUhAiiY
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) August 6, 2021
“Today, the managers in the big clubs, there are many internationals – we cannot work. We are here to handle the team spirit as well as possible, that time when you have four or five weeks to prepare.
“Half of the team is out and we don’t complain. It’s a pleasure to play the Community Shield. I’m lucky in the sixth season and my players know what they’ve to do.
“So difficult, the schedule is crazy, so tough.”
The encounter could, however, be a chance for new signing Grealish to make his debut, although Guardiola admitted that he won’t be ready to feature from the start.
“He’s not ready to start – one week training alone – but he’ll travel and be on the bench and we’ll see what happens,” Guardiola said.
“Normally top players adapt quick to physicality, he has to understand. Maybe I’m wrong and we cannot help him – but I’ve a feeling he knows what he has to do.”