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Guardiola: De Bruyne could return for Everton

TEAM NEWS: KDB back in the fold!

TEAM NEWS: KDB back in the fold!

As if the return of the Premier League couldn’t get any more exciting…

Kevin De Bruyne could return to the City squad against Everton following a speedy recovery from his hamstring injury.

Whether the 25-year old is fit enough to start on Saturday or not, this good news has certainly handed Pep Guardiola a huge boost ahead of the crunch UEFA Champions League match against FC Barcelona on Wednesday night.

The Belgian playmaker, who spent time with specialist Dr Ramon Cugat in Barcelona, will be assessed over the coming 24 hours to determine his level of his involvement against Ronald Koeman’s Toffees.

De Bruyne missed the 3-3 draw with Celtic and the 2-0 defeat to Spurs.

Guardiola also confirmed that Bacary Sagna will be out for the next three weeks: “All of the injured players are much, much, much better.

“Some will play tomorrow, some will not. They all trained good in the last few days. I don’t know if they’ll play for 90 minutes. We’ll have to think about it this afternoon.

“I never prioritize games. The next one is always the most important game. I’ll see how the international players are - some recover quickly, some need more time.”

Pep played alongside Koeman as part of Barcelona’s “Dream Team” in the early 1990s.

The City boss was full of praise for his Everton counterpart in the build-up to their first meeting as coaches in England.

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Guardiola smiled: “Ronald is a big friend of mine so I appreciate his words.

“When Ronald needed water, he’d wake up to water from me. I was younger so I looked up to him. He was not just a roommate, we spent a lot of time together and he was so generous. Not just on the pitch but off it too - I learned a lot from looking at him.

“He was one of the first central defenders with the quality not just to defend. I think Cruyff bought him to teach us why we needed a central defender like Ronald. He was one of the few guys who I never saw miss an important game.

“He always played good in the big games. Against Real Madrid, in the Champions League, he was amazing. He’s one of the best central defenders I’ve met in my entire life.”

Guardiola also emphasised that he won’t compromise on his footballing ideals but spoke on “the beautiful challenge” of adapting to the Premier League, as he did in Spain and Germany.

“At every stage, every club, every country has its own specific things and you have to adapt and adjust,” the Catalan explained.

“I played in different styles against different problems the opponents created in the last seven years and that’s beautiful.

“The way I want the players to win the game is the way I believe. At Barcelona, we were a very good team but during the season maybe we crossed ten times in a whole season. We attacked a lot in the middle for the quality we had at that moment.

“At Munich, it was completely different, we had a big striker and amazing wingers - the way you play depends on the players. But the fundamentals are the same.”

John Stones comes up against his former team on Saturday and his manager admitted that he has discussed the strengths and weaknesses of the Toffees with him.

However, Guardiola is aware that a lot has changed at Goodison Park since John swapped Merseyside for Manchester.

He added: “John told me how good they are, the quality of the players - he was one month, two months with Ronald - not a long time. He played with five in the first game against Tottenham, sometimes 4-4-2, sometimes 4-5-1. I don’t know what Ronald will do on Saturday."

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