Vincent Kompany has pledged to let Manchester City’s medical staff manage him out of the injury nightmare that threatens to wreck his career.
The City captain has suffered from persistent muscular problems over recent seasons, most notably calf injuries, and he required surgery on his groin and thigh after hobbling out of May’s Champions League semi-final second-leg defeat to Real Madrid.
Kompany’s initial comeback this season ended with a recurrence of groin trouble in stoppage time of a 2-1 EFL Cup win at Swansea City, although he returned to the starting XI for Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Southampton in the Premier League and appeared to come through unscathed.
His inclusion at the heart of a back three came on the back of reports manager Pep Guardiola was ready to jettison one of his most influential squad members after the Belgium international travelled to Barcelona last week without making City’s matchday squad at Camp Nou.
“My situation is very simple,” Kompany told reporters. “I think you can make a mistake to over-analyse things. I’ve been out for six months.
“I’ve had to make one commitment to the medical staff, which was that I’d be honest towards them with my feelings, and that I would listen to them when they made a decision.
“I told them how I felt the day before the game and they made the decision for me. I wanted to play, of course, that wasn’t even in doubt, but I’ve just made this commitment to listen to them a little bit more.
“Maybe another day I would never have gone off after 70 minutes like I did [against Southampton], but it’s part of the bargain, let’s put it that way, and it’s for the best.”
He added: “I think I thrive on the challenge. God knows what would have happened if I’d never had those injuries but I need to get something that makes me stronger out of it, something different from other players, and that’s what I believe in.
“Okay, that’s been my reality for the last few years now, but motivation only keeps going up, because I feel like I belong on the pitch and I deserve to have good moments because of how I’ve worked every single day to come back. But I trust myself, incredibly.”
The win Kompany contributed to at Swansea set up Wednesday’s fourth-round derby at Old Trafford and, despite his pledge to be careful with his body, the 30-year-old veteran of crosstown contests against Manchester United is eager to be involved as City aim to end a slump of five games without a win in all competitions.
“It’s just physically impossible for me to play down a derby, but the more they [United] say this is the fourth competition, the better it is for us,” he said.
“Am I looking forward to it? Come on, always. The bigger the game, the better. Those games are what you play for.”