Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has given his blessing to Vincent Kompany joining up with the Belgium squad despite his captain remaining sidelined with a calf injury.
Kompany has not featured in City’s past four matches after hobbling out of last month’s 2-1 Champions League loss to Juventus and he will miss out once again when Newcastle United visit the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
The 29-year-old will join up with his international team-mates for their decisive Euro 2016 qualifiers against Andorra and Israel, but Pellegrini is satisfied that the centre-back will only have a watching brief as captain alongside his international coach Marc Wilmots.
“Kompany will not be fit to play for Belgium but it’s important for him to be with his mates as they have important qualifiers,” Pellegrini told a pre-match press conference.
“Kompany’s calf is still injured – we’ll see if he’s fit after the international break. The calf is a difficult muscle.”
City have been hit with a spate of injuries as their form has faltered over recent weeks but centre-back Eliaquim Mangala and forwards Wilfried Bony and Kelechi Iheanacho are available once more, while full-back Pablo Zabaleta could make his first start of season after recovering from damaged knee ligaments.
Zabaleta came on during the closing stages of City’s 2-1 Champions League win over Borussia Monchengladbach on Wednesday, but Yaya Toure will not face Newcastle, having gone off at half-time at Borussia-Park. The influential midfielder joins Samir Nasri, Fabian Delph and Gael Clichy on the sidelines.
Pellegrini believes the international break will provide a timely opportunity to clear a crowded treatment room.
“Of course because it is not normal what we have had for the last weeks,” he explained.
“Against Sunderland [City’s 4-1 League Cup win last week] we had five players injured. After that we have had an average of eight, seven, six.
“I think that is too much and I hope that during this international break most of them will be fit.
“It is difficult because we are just playing the same names every game. It is difficult to play so many games with a high intensity and high pace when you do not have any changes to make.
“We will try now to finish the run with a good game here at home and try to win three more points in the Premier League.”