Erling Haaland 'feels better' but needs to be assessed ahead of Man City's game against Leicester, says Pep Guardiola – Sky Sports

  • October 28, 2022

Erling Haaland “feels better” following his foot injury against Borussia Dortmund, says Pep Guardiola, and will be assessed ahead of Saturday’s trip to Leicester; Kyle Walker and Kalvin Phillips described as being “optimistic” about returning for the World Cup
Friday 28 October 2022 16:16, UK
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Pep Guardiola says Erling Haaland “feels better” after suffering a knock to his foot against Borussia Dortmund but still needs to be assessed before Manchester City’s Premier League meeting with Leicester on Saturday.
Haaland, who has scored 17 goals in 11 Premier League appearances this season, had to be taken off at half-time of City’s goalless draw with Dortmund in the Champions League on Tuesday, the striker also suffering from illness and fatigue.
Guardiola was optimistic about his top scorer’s chances of recovering in time for Saturday’s trip to the King Power Stadium at his press conference on Friday but stopped short of passing him fit.
“He feels better but we will train this afternoon and we will assess in a few hours,” said Guardiola.
“We will see how he feels in his foot and after we will decide.
“I will know in two hours if he’s able to play or not.”
Guardiola reported no other fresh injury concerns, with Joao Cancelo, who also had to be taken off at half-time against Dortmund, recovering from illness. “I think everybody trained well after the game,” he said.
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The City boss also gave his backing to Julian Alvarez, insisting the Argentine is his first-choice to play up front if Haaland is unavailable.
Alvarez, a £14.2m signing from River Plate in January, has only started four games in all competitions this season, scoring three times in 14 appearances in total.
“Normally, if Erling is not ready, Julian is the first option, definitely,” said Guardiola. “We can play with a false nine but I think it’s not going to happen.
“If Erling is not available, not only tomorrow but for the future, Julian is first option.”
Of his scoring record compared to Haaland’s this season, Guardiola added: “Play 90 minutes every game and he will score goals, maybe not like Erling, but he will score goals.”
Guardiola also offered an update on long-term absentees Kyle Walker and Kalvin Phillips, saying the latter is ahead of schedule in his recovery from a dislocated shoulder.
“They are not ready for Leicester but I think they are getting better, Kalvin especially.
“What he says to me when I see him in the canteen or the locker room is that he feels really well.
“His mobility in the shoulder is perfect and he has started to train, contact with the ball. He has to avoid contact with team-mates, but he feels really well.
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“We are surprised by how quick his development has been.”
Asked if Phillips could feature for City before the World Cup, Guardiola added: “If he is fit and I believe he can play then maybe he can make some minutes.”
The Man City boss hopes both Phillips and Walker will be available for World Cup selection and revealed they feel optimistic about their chances.
“They are positive, they are optimistic,” he said. “They are in touch with Gareth (Southgate). I don’t know. I hope they are ready to be selected.”
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Speaking at his press conference on Thursday, Leicester’s Brendan Rodgers declared he hopes Haaland will be available.
“I hope he plays because it’s a player I’ve seen from his earlier years, and you want to see the best players,” Rodgers said.
“We have a chance to see a world-class player progress his talent on our shores. He’s 22, everyone can see the talent. He’s a natural goalscorer, but he works on it as well.
“He always makes the right runs. He never wastes a run. He has the hunger to be the best player he can be. He thought he needed to be stronger and put on 10kg of muscle. He’s blessed with incredible physicality.
“Over this next decade it will be great to follow him. I hope he plays, it will be great to measure ourselves against top talents.”
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