Football: Kompany set to return to full training with Man City

Kompany (above) has not played since suffering a calf problem in August 2017.
Kompany (above) has not played since suffering a calf problem in August 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS

MANCHESTER, United Kingdom (AFP) - Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany is set to return to full training in the next seven to 10 days as he steps up his recovery from his latest injury, manager Pep Guardiola said on Friday (Oct 27).

The skipper has not played since suffering a calf problem while featuring for Belgium against Gibraltar in a World Cup qualifier on Aug 31.

Guardiola has suggested Kompany will not be ready until after the upcoming international break but hopes he will be fit for the Premier League trip to Leicester on Nov 18.

The 31-year-old went to Barcelona this week to be assessed by Ramon Cugat, Guardiola's preferred specialist, who has also been looking after Benjamin Mendy as he recovers from knee ligament damage.

Kompany has returned with a positive diagnosis and Guardiola is keen to get him back into the squad to provide defensive competition for John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi.

"Vincent just travelled to see Ramon, to see how his injury is," Guardiola said at his pre-match press conference in Manchester.

"In the next seven to 10 days, he'll be coming back. It's a muscular injury."

Guardiola is set to assess several of his players, including midfielder Ilkay Gundogan, before picking a squad to face West Brom in the Premier League at The Hawthorns on Saturday.

Gundogan was unable to take part in the penalty shootout at the end of Tuesday's draining League Cup fourth-round win over Wolves because he was struggling with cramp and the manager is also concerned that others such as Sergio Aguero may also be feeling tired.

"After the game, they were so tired," Guardiola said.

"There were problems with a lot of kicks and it was such a demanding game for us. We had a recovery day, yesterday we were off. Now the players have come in and we'll see how they are."

City have not lost any of their opening nine Premier League matches and are emerging as clear favourites to regain the title they last won in 2014, but Guardiola has warned there will be difficult times ahead.

He has pointed out repeatedly that the team won their first 10 matches in all competitions under him last season, yet then fell away and only finished third, ending up without a trophy.

Guardiola also paid tribute to the young City players who have helped England reach Saturday's Under-17 World Cup final against Spain in India.

Midfielder Phil Foden was outstanding as England beat Brazil 3-1 in Wednesday's semi-final, while goalkeeper Curtis Anderson made a crucial save as Japan were beaten on penalties in the last 16.

Defender Joel Latibeaudiere, who signed his first professional contract with City during the summer, has been a commanding presence as the England captain.

"We are so happy for Phil, for Joel and the goalkeeper," Guardiola said.

"So it's good for English football. The Under-20 side won their World Cup this year too, so that is fantastic for English football. Big congratulations to the team."