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Luton Town
Premier League | Gameweek 16
Dec 10, 2023 at 2pm UK
Kenilworth Road Stadium
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Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola delivers Kevin De Bruyne injury update

Pep Guardiola delivers Kevin De Bruyne injury update
© Reuters
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola delivers an injury update on Kevin De Bruyne, who has been included in the club's 23-man squad for the FIFA Club World Cup taking place later this month.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has confirmed that Kevin De Bruyne is closing in on a return from injury but the FIFA Club World Cup may come too soon for the Belgian.

De Bruyne has been sidelined since August 11 when he sustained a hamstring injury, which required surgery, on the opening weekend of the Premier League season away against Burnley.

The 32-year-old, who has likened his injured hamstring to a "wet kitchen towel", revealed last month that his recovery is "going very well" and he has since suggested that he could make his comeback at some stage in the New Year.

Man City fans were boosted by the news that De Bruyne was included in the club's 23-man squad for the Club World Cup in Saudi Arabia taking place later this month.

Guardiola has confirmed that De Bruyne has returned to light training, but he is yet to link up with his teammates in full training and is unlikely to represent the Citizens at the Club World Cup.

Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne after being substituted due to injury on August 11, 2023© Reuters

Speaking about De Bruyne at a press conference on Friday ahead of Sunday's Premier League clash at Luton Town, Guardiola said: "I think he has started to run on the pitch but hasn't trained with us once.

"The FIFA Club World Cup is in two or three weeks. I don't know. Maybe it's a bit early but I don't know (at this point)."

Man City are due to travel to Saudi Arabia after their Premier League clash with Crystal Palace on December 16, and will take on either Mexican outfit Club Leon or Urawa Red Diamonds of Japan in their semi-final in Jeddah just three days later.

De Bruyne has been an integral part of City's success over the years, contributing with 96 goals and 153 assists in 358 appearances across all competitions since joining the club in 2015.

The playmaker was one of many standout performers who helped the Citizens win a historic treble last season, but he is yet to put his stamp on the current campaign, and Guardiola is keen to give the Belgian all the time that he needs to ensure that he recovers properly and returns to his best.

"Kevin is so important," Guardiola added. "But unfortunately, he's had a tough injury for three or four months.

"Don't put pressure on him, when he's back we'll have open arms for him.

"But I've said to the team, do you know how we struggled to get the treble? We were eight or nine points behind Arsenal. With all the problems and injuries we had. It's normal, that's why we gave credit to the treble.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola on December 3, 2023© Reuters

"The same team right now, before the game against Wolves, were one game off the best start ever for this club. At the international break we were top.

"We faced Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham, Aston Villa, they're top teams, and it can happen.

"We didn't deserve to win against Villa, I don't need time to reflect. I don't need 'oh maybe we can do this'. We have to do it all together and if Kevin is here, yes, if not, okay.

"Or maybe Rodri's not here, so I have to find a way when he's not there. Last season he was almost always there so I have to find a way."

Meanwhile, there was no mention of Jeremy Doku at Guardiola's press conference, and the winger – who missed the midweek defeat at Aston Villa due to an unspecified leg problem – is set to be assessed ahead of kickoff on Sunday.

Both Rodri and Jack Grealish are available to return to the squad to face Luton after serving a one-match suspension in midweek.

Man City, who have failed to win any of their last four Premier League matches, will be looking to return to winning ways and close the six-point gap to leaders Arsenal when they take on Luton at Kenilworth Road.

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