Foden’s unavailability is among a number of issues Pep Guardiola is managing, ahead of their opening game against Tottenham
Phil Foden is facing another month on the sidelines with the foot injury that kept the Manchester City midfielder out of England’s Euro 2020 final defeat to Italy.
Pep Guardiola, the City Manager, is due to welcome back Foden’s England team-mates Raheem Sterling, John Stones and Kyle Walker after their extended holidays on Monday, as well as the Brazil pair of Ederson and Gabriel Jesus, following their involvement in the Copa America this summer.
But Foden is not expected to return until after the international break next month as Guardiola banks on some of his key players getting up to speed quickly after a truncated, disrupted pre-season that culminated in Saturday’s 1-0 Community Shield defeat to Leicester at Wembley.
Foden over flexed a foot during one of England’s final training sessions ahead of the Italy game on July 11, but the damage caused is understood to be quite unusual and has led to the City’s medical staff erring on the side of caution. Guardiola has already admitted it is an injury, City must be “careful” with in order to avoid aggravating the issue.
The midfielder is due to miss City’s first three league matches against Spurs on Sunday, Norwich and Arsenal, as well as England’s World Cup qualifiers against Hungary, Andorra and Poland, and it remains to be seen if he will be back in time for Leicester on Sept. 11, their first game back after the international break.
It is one of several headaches for Guardiola on the eve of the new Premier League season after the champions faced Leicester short of fitness and with only four first-team regulars in the starting XI. Kevin De Bruyne will also miss the start of the campaign, owing to the ankle injury but the Belgium midfielder is expected to return sooner than Foden.
Aymeric Laporte is currently self-isolating, after coming into contact on a flight with a person who tested positive for Covid that has put the Spain defender’s involvement against Spurs in some doubt.
“No it’s [Laporte’s test] negative but he travelled on a flight with more than 100 people and one person on this flight was positive,” Guardiola said. “The rules right now mean eight days he has to be at home being negative, so that’s why [he missed the Community Shield]. He’s already been four or five days at home.”
Jack Grealish made his City debut, just 48 hours after completing a British record £100 million moves from Aston Villa in his first outing since England’s defeat to Italy on July 11, but the midfielder is not the only player who has missed the majority of pre-season.
Sterling, Stones and Walker and Ederson and Jesus, who were part of the Brazil side beaten in the final of the Copa America by Argentina four weeks ago, were all given extended breaks and Guardiola hopes some of them can find full fitness quickly as he bids to avoid a slow start to the season.
“On Monday, we will be all together,” he said. “A few players get their conditions so quick. The other ones need a little bit more time. We will see their weight, their body fat, how they arrive and especially their heads.
“There are players who play just three, four or five days and their mentality is positive, ready to fight and suffer in bad conditions, like happened [on Saturday] and some of them need more time. We will try to discover which ones are ready immediately. It depends on their heads. They have had the rest. They are rested, so now they can be ready but it depends.”