Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has told captain Vincent Kompany to put all his focus on regaining full fitness ahead of the new season.
The 30-year-old made only 14 appearances in the Premier League in 2015-16 as a result of persistent muscle injuries, while a thigh problem sustained in the Champions League semi-final defeat to Real Madrid forced him to miss the entirety of Belgium’s Euro 2016 campaign.
City have been linked with a number of defensive reinforcements since Guardiola took charge, with potential moves for Leonardo Bonucci and John Stones widely reported.
And Guardiola has sounded something of a warning to Kompany by challenging him to be fully fit for the start of the season in August.
“My dream for Vincent Kompany is to be fit,” Guardiola said at his introductory news conference.
“He hasn’t played many games in the last few years. The captain has a lot of experience, he is a magnificent central defender, but he has to be fit. I spoke to him and said ‘just focus on your body’.”
The future of midfielder Yaya Toure has long been the subject of speculation, especially since his move from Barcelona to City in 2010 came while Guardiola was in charge at Camp Nou.
But the former Bayern Munich boss suggested Toure could still have a future at the Etihad Stadium.
“I’ve known Yaya for a long time, he did very well at Barcelona and here as well,” he said. “He’s here, I count on him.”
Two more City stars, Joe Hart and Raheem Sterling, were both heavily criticised for their form at Euro 2016 as England crashed out to Iceland in the last 16 after winning just one of their four games.
Guardiola says he is looking forward to helping Sterling recover the form which saw City pay £49million to sign him from Liverpool a year ago, and admits he would be eager to build a core of English players in his team – even though inflated transfer markets prices are a hindrance.
“They were criticised because they lost,” he said of Hart and Sterling. “The money for Sterling is always in the mind of people, but I’m looking forward to working with him, to help him to show what a good player he is.
“In Barcelona, the basis was Catalan or Spanish players, and it was Germans at Bayern Munich. I’d like to work with English players here. Although they’re so expensive here, it’s not easy!”
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