Pep Guardiola confirms when Man City players will return from World Cup break


Pep Guardiola has confirmed when the Manchester City players who won’t travel to the World Cup will return to the club.

The Premier League champions suffered a 2-1 loss to Brentford on Saturday in their final match ahead of the mid-season hiatus. Ivan Toney netted twice for the Bees just days after he was left out of the England squad, while Phil Foden scored City’s only goal at the Etihad.

The Blues’ next game comes against Liverpool in the Carabao Cup, a match that will take place on the week commencing 19 December, and will probably be played on 20, 21 or 22 December. Meanwhile, City next play in the Premier League on 28 December when they travel to Leeds United.

Guardiola has said he will give the likes of Erling Haaland and Riyad Mahrez, who won’t play at the World Cup, some time off before the squad return to training. Speaking on Saturday, the Catalan confirmed City’s squad will meet up again on 5 December, and immediately fly to Abu Dhabi for a training camp.

Stefan Ortega Moreno, Scott Carson, Rico Lewis, Josh Wilson-Esbrand, Sergio Gomez and Cole Palmer also won’t be at the World Cup, but City will have 16 representatives at the tournament for nine different countries.

But what about those players who are eliminated early from the competition? The group stage ends on 2 December and Guardiola said, where possible, he will try and give players time off if they exit the World Cup early. However, the players who make it to the latter stages are less likely to have a break before returning to club football.

“It depends on the finish, if they arrive at the final or if they go out in a group stage,” Guardiola said last Wednesday. “Every player will be treated on how they finish.

“But the first idea, I want to give them some days off to refresh a little bit, but at the same time we have Leeds around the corner, then maybe [rearranged games against] Spurs and Arsenal will be in these weeks and we need the players back.

“I have to see how the calendar, the schedule, how we start,” Guardiola added. “I want to talk to the players. Some will want to come back and other players could go to the World Cup and not play one minute, and other players play all the minutes and say ‘Pep I am so exhausted, I need a break’. That’s why every player will be treated in a special way.”

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