Kevin De Bruyne set for Manchester City return against Burnley

Belgian playmaker has not featured since suffering a knee injury in August

Kevin de Bruyne trains ahead of their Premier League clash with Burnley. Photograph: Matt McNulty via Getty Images

Kevin de Bruyne trains ahead of their Premier League clash with Burnley. Photograph: Matt McNulty via Getty Images

 

Pep Guardiola has confirmed Kevin De Bruyne is ready to make his Manchester City comeback, after a two-month absence, against Burnley on Saturday.

The Belgium midfielder has recovered from a knee ligament injury and has been in full training throughout the international break. “He’s ready to play,” Guardiola said. “He has been training well and without pain, so I will probably give him some time in the next game. He might not be ready to play 90 minutes but we are all keen to see him back in action. Kevin is a very important player for us.”

De Bruyne’s chances of playing are increased by injury to Ilkay Gündogan, who will be out for a couple more weeks, though Fabian Delph is fit if required to face Burnley, described by Guardiola as “masters of the long ball and second ball game”.

City’s manager was pleased to see Raheem Sterling score two goals for England in midweek but thinks the player can still get better. “Raheem’s mentality is stronger than before, and I thought that before he scored the goals for England,” Guardiola said. “He is only 23 years old and he knows he can still improve some more.”

The former City youngster Jadon Sancho made his England debut in the previous game against Croatia, and Guardiola, though disappointed to lose the winger to Borussia Dortmund, believes interest in his players from other countries is an inevitable fact of modern life.

“English teams are looking at young players in Spain and Italy, aren’t they?” he said. “Losing a player can happen. We wanted to keep Sancho, we did everything we could, but he was keen to start his career in Germany. I’m glad he’s doing well there, and though you never know what might happen in football I doubt if he’s thinking of coming back here. When he was here he didn’t want to stay, so I don’t believe he will be thinking of a return.”

Advice for Henry

Guardiola added that his door is always open should Thierry Henry require advice in his new position as manager of Monaco. The pair were together when Guardiola was in charge of Barcelona and have remained friends, though the City manager feels Henry should be under no illusions about the size of the task he has taken on.

Monaco eliminated City from the Champions League less than two seasons ago, yet most of their best players have moved on since then – some of them to City – and Henry’s new side sit third from bottom of the French league.

“I wish Thierry all the best – it is a huge experience to start out on a managerial career,” Guardiola said. “Right now Monaco is not in a good position but I think Thierry is going to do well.”

City will use Burnley’s visit to make a presentation to Joe Hart, the returning goalkeeper who is having a training pitch at the club’s Academy Campus dedicated to him in honour of his part in helping win the title in 2012. – Guardian

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