Pep Guardiola reveals early Man City team news vs Liverpool FC
And until the one absentee does come back, the Blues players will not choose their replacement for Vincent Kompany as captain.
Guardiola said that Riyad Mahrez has returned four days ahead of schedule, after leading Algeria to glory in the African Nations Cup, and with Gabriel Jesus , Nicolas Otamendi and Sergio Aguero both back at the City Football Academy on Wednesday, they are almost back up to full squad strength ahead of Sunday’s Community Shield against Liverpool.
The only player who has yet to return – apart from injured Benjamin Mendy – is Fernandinho, who was in the Brazil squad at Copa America but missed the last three rounds, including the final, with a knee injury.
Whether that problem relates to him being late back for training is unclear.
That means Rodri will almost certainly start against Liverpool at Wembley, although Guardiola hinted that the expected humid conditions mean he will make full use of the new rule allowing six substitutions from the seven men named on the bench.
Guardiola said he will use the players who have had a full pre-season from the start, and the late-comers will “get a few minutes.”
The only player he named as a certain starter was Claudio Bravo, returning from a season out with injury.
“I think it will be hot, the condition not the best but we are going to try to play with the players who have played the most in pre-season. The guys who came back later will have a few minutes,” he said.
Until Fernandinho returns, the players will not choose the captain to replace Kompany.
Said Guardiola: “When Ferna is back, the players will decide. They will decide the captain. we want the players to be all together – that’s when we choose.”