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City reap Claudio dividend

Claudio Reyna Manchester City season 0506

Claudio Reyna Manchester City season 0506

Stuart Pearce thinks that a period of "r & r" for Claudio Reyna is already paying dividends for his team and the player himself.

The 32-year-old American gave an assured display in the opening match of the season against West Brom, skippering the side and looking to have benefited from not having played for the US national side during the close season.

Reyna asked US team coach Bruce Arena if he could avoid international commitments towards the end of last season and during the summer, in order to complete his first proper pre-season since he first started playing in the English Premiership, and his club manager thinks that the benefits are already showing themselves.

"A lot of people said to me at the end of last season, 'What have you done with Claudio?',  I said 'nothing'!" says Pearce.

"He's fully fit, he's fully focussed. He's extremely well respected in that dressing room for what he's achieved and his footballing ability. He needs to be a big player for me this season, he needs to be fully fit and 'at it'. If he does that and similar to what he did at the end of last season, I'll be delighted."

Alongside Reyna, it was Joey Barton who took the man of the match award last Saturday, but the combination of the two gave City an edge in midfield that Pearce thinks will improve as the two play together more.

"They are two players in midfield who have been team-mates for a number of months and years, and their understanding is just coming after playing a bit more football together. The same thing will happen for the boys up front as for Joey and Claudio.

"You get that understanding by playing alongside each-other and by understanding each-other's strengths and weaknesses."

Reyna will take the captain's armband when turns out for his country on Wednesday in their World Cup qualifier against Trinidad and Tobago. An international veteran with 106 caps to his name, Claudio will be desperate to make his fourth World Cup finals in Germany next year, and Pearce hails his decision to ask for some international time off in order to give him fresh impetus ahead of the new season.

"Credit to him, he is a very professional man in what he does and what he tries to achieve out there. I think by making the decision he made, and it was his decision, it would make him fresher this year not only for us but also for the Americans next summer.

"Everyone will win by it, he is improving his form, he is a more confident player and he will get a full season behind him with the knowledge that he has had a break this summer as well."

First Team News

Karl looking to the future

Karl Bermingham Manchester City season 0506

Young striker Karl Bermingham is hoping that his month’s loan at Burnley will improve his chances of challenging for a first-team spot when he returns to City.

First Team News

Yasser in training

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Qatari international midfielder Yasser Hussein has started training with Manchester City as the club finalise the paperwork that will see him open a contract until January at least.

Match Report

City v Olympiacos 06 08 2005