Football: City's Zinchenko ready to play despite impact of invasion

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has expressed support for Ukraine defender Oleksandr Zinchenko. PHOTO: REUTERS

MANCHESTER (REUTERS) - Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said his Ukraine defender Oleksandr Zinchenko has been affected by the Russian invasion of his homeland but remains ready to play if called upon.

Zinchenko attended a vigil in the centre of Manchester on Thursday (Feb 24) to protest against the invasion and Guardiola expressed support for his player.

"What would you do if someone abroad attacked the UK? It's how he feels," Guardiola said when asked at a news conference about Zinchenko's involvement in the protest.

"It's a worry, what we feel with our country where we were born. Killing innocent people, how would you feel? I guess that's how he feels. Of course it's close to him. Of course he has our support."

"It happened in the country he was born, he loves, it's attacked from outside. He's tough and knows we are here," added the Spaniard.

Guardiola said he had discussed the situation with the 25-year-old fullback and the rest of the team ahead of Saturday's Premier League game at Everton.

"We spoke (about) all of this, I spoke with him. Everyone, the friends. These are the headlines all around the world, it's a concern," he said.

"Oleks is incredibly strong, a really brilliant guy. Of course it's not easy but today and yesterday in training he was brilliant. He's ready to play in case he has to play."

Guardiola said that Brazilian forward Gabriel Jesus and England midfielder Jack Grealish were both fit again and available for the trip to Goodison Park.

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