Pep Guardiola insists he will not look to influence Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany over his international future.
Kompany suffered the latest in a succession of calf injuries during Belgium’s 9-0 win over Gibraltar in August and has missed City’s last 11 games in all competitions.
Guardiola told a news conference ahead of Saturday’s Premier League trip to West Brom he expects the 31-year-old centre-back to return to action after the November international break.
Kompany previously suggested he would look to retire from Belgium duty after the 2018 World Cup in Russia but Guardiola refused to be drawn into that discussion despite the problems caused by his skipper’s most recent excursion with the national team.
“I don’t know his position, no,” he said.
“Vincent is a man, you know. He knows exactly what he has to do better than me. He knows his body.
“But the good news from Barcelona [where Kompany visited specialist Ramon Cugat] was the same news the doctors told me here, so hopefully after Arsenal [visit the Etihad Stadium on November 5], after the next international break, he will be ready.”
— Vincent Kompany (@VincentKompany) September 30, 2017
Previously, Kompany’s frequent absences have left City’s defence on rocky ground, but John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi have combined effectively at the heart of defence on this occasion.
Goalkeeper Ederson has only conceded four times in the Premier League this season, keeping five clean sheets in six appearances during Kompany’s lay-off.
But with cover at centre-back amounting to youngster Tosin Adarabioyo and the accident-prone Eliaquim Mangala, Guardiola remains convinced of Kompany’s importance to the league leaders’ cause.
“Of course, we need Vincent and Manga at a high level to give rest – John and Ota can’t play every game for the remaining eight months, it’s impossible,” he said.
“That’s why we are lucky because in this month and a half they didn’t get injured, they didn’t suffer. We have Tosin, but he’s still young, and Manga. In that part of the squad we don’t have many, many players.
“What I want is Vincent to recover as soon as possible, because we need him. Last season, in the last seven games, he was so important for us. He helped us to be more solid, to win a lot of duels one against one. We need him and his personality.
“He needs to compete with John and Ota and Manga and, like this, we will get the best level for the team.”
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