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Guardiola says Gundogan not expected in Premier League for a month as Man City return from Iceland

Date Posted,August 4, 2017

Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan isn’t expected to be back in Pep Guardiola’s Premier League plans for another month.

The German international hasn’t played this year after rupturing cruciate ligaments in December.

And although Gundogan is close enough to fitness for Guardiola to reveal he may feature in City’s friendly in Girona on Tuesday week, it is understood that the Blues’ boss will not be taking any risks when it comes to the serious stuff.

The 26-year-old arrived at City from Borussia Dortmund last summer still recovering from a dislocated knee cap.

And he also spent a year on the sidelines with a back problem when he was at Dortmund.

Ilkay Gundogan is nearing fitness but won’t be risked straight away (Image: Getty Images)
Sergio Aguero poses for a selfie with a supporter after returning from Iceland (Image: Eamonn and James Clarke)

Guardiola said: “I think he (Gundogan) is close to coming back.

“Maybe he’ll get minutes in Girona. I don’t know, we’re going to ask the doctor because of course he was injured for a long time.

“We don’t want to take any risks and he has to be strong.

Gabriel Jesus looks set to continue in an imposing pairing with Aguero (Image: Eamonn and James Clarke)

“But of course, his quality is perfect for the way we want to play.

“He’s a guy who plays in the middle and can be a holding midfielder or play in front.”

Guardiola has employed a three-man central defence and wing-backs during pre-season.

Man City skipper Vincent Kompany will be hoping for better luck with injury this season (Image: Eamonn and James Clarke)
Bernardo Silva looks relaxed as City return home (Image: Eamonn and James Clarke)

It has enabled him to pair strikers Sergio Aguero and Jesus Gabriel together.

And the City boss has hinted that he could stick with the formation for next week’s opener at Brighton.

Guardiola said: “We have worked the last few games with this system and if we need to do it during the season then we can.

“We also know perfectly from last season how to play 4-3-3.

Yaya Toure poses with a fan last night while Ederson and Nikolas Otamendi also return (Image: Eamonn and James Clarke)
Kyle Walker and John Stones on Friday night (Image: Eamonn and James Clarke)

“But the last three games were good. We were so intense and we have a lot of people in the middle to play and people in the middle to defend and we are well protected at the back.

“We also have two strikers, more on the box, instead of just one.

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“That’s why we are happy with what we have seen. We are going to play in different systems but the fundamentals will stay the same.

“We will make good build-ups, have the ball as much as possible, have high pressing and try to get the ball back as quickly as possible.”

Toure walks through Manchester Airport as City arrive from Iceland (Image: Eamonn and James Clarke)
Bernardo Silva, Danilo and Ederson in Manchester (Image: Eamonn and James Clarke)

City’s pre-season began with a 2-0 defeat against Manchester United.

But they employed 3-5-2 against Real Madrid, Tottenham and West Ham – winning all three games, scoring 10 goals and conceding just one.

David Silva is greeted by a fan on Friday night (Image: Eamonn and James Clarke)
Danilo makes his way through arrivals (Image: Eamonn and James Clarke)

Asked whether he has decided on his line-up for the trip to the Amex Stadium, Guardiola added: “No, no way.

“They have to convince me this week. I have confidence in them so it’s not about that but I have one week to think about it.

“I have to see Brighton, their qualities and their stadium, and I’m then going to decide.”

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