Manchester City great Mike Summerbee has backed club captain Vincent Kompany to emerge from his injury nightmare and return to his best form.
Belgium centre-back Kompany is unlikely to feature again in 2016 after damaging knee ligaments in a 2-1 win at Crystal Palace earlier this month.
That freak injury, coming as the 30-year-old landed awkwardly following a heavy collision with City goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, halted Kompany’s latest return to the starting XI following a succession of muscular problems.
Saturday’s tussle with Premier League leaders Chelsea is the latest high-profile contest he must watch from the stands but club ambassador Summerbee is hopeful Kompany can inspire further success to stand alongside the five major honours he has collected at the Etihad Stadium since 2011.
“It’s unfortunate, it’s a rarity to have so many injuries as he’s had,” ex-England winger Summerbee told Omnisport.
“He’s a quality player. When he came back against Swansea [a 2-1 EFL Cup win in September], I thought he was outstanding and then he got a bit of an injury towards the end of the game.
“If he can get through this difficult period he’s going through…he’s a very, very fit lad, he knows what he wants to do. He’s a determined man.
“He’ll come back into the side and you’ll see Vincent Kompany as he was. He’s a well-respected man, not only by City supporters but by all supporters around the country. When people talk about centre-halves they always talk about Vincent Kompany.”
John Stones has been a centre-back on many people’s lips since joining City as the most expensive defender in Premier League history in August.
The 22-year-old England international’s willingness to build attacks from deep aligns him perfectly with the playing style of City boss Pep Guardiola, although there have been notable mistakes for club and country along the way.
But, in Kompany’s absence, Summerbee has been impressed by the former Everton man’s willingness to assume extra responsibility.
“John Stones has done remarkably well. He’s a young man, it’s a big responsibility playing in that position,” he added.
“I like him on the ball. He picks the ball up and if there’s 20 yards in front of him he’ll go into that place, which will commit an inside forward or a midfielder to go into him. Then he’ll lay the ball off and he does that very well.
“I like anybody with confidence who can control the ball and beat people. It’s the footballing world now, everybody has to be able to play.
“In my day, we had full-backs who kicked wingers, you had centre-halves who won the ball in the air and the skilful people were the inside forwards and they created situations. Now, everybody in the entire Premier League tries to play football.”
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