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Summer Talking Points: Reasons to be excited

INCOMING: Pep, Euro 2016 and Copa America

INCOMING: Pep, Euro 2016 and Copa America

There’s still a UEFA Champions League final and numerous play-offs to come in 2015/16 but this is essentially the first week of the domestic close season for England's top flight.

It was a long, hard, first summer weekend without our City fix that we’ve just endured but there is plenty to keep you going over the next couple of months.

With 82 days to go until the return of the Premier League, we look at five reasons to be excited for the summer…

1 Pep is coming

“Guardiola wants to make football better…” – Johan Cruyff.

Only one place to start: City’s incoming manager takes up office after signing off on three trophy-laden years at Bayern Munich with yet another piece of silverware on Saturday.

Pep clinched his 21st title in seven years as a coach with the DFB-Pokal final win over Borussia Dortmund and bid a tearful farewell to this latest chapter of his glorious managerial career.

Just to put his achievements into context, no manager in history had ever won 15 major trophies in seven years, never mind 21 – no wonder supporters are counting the days until the man who is arguably the most influential person in world football arrives at City Football Academy.

2 The Euros

Joe Hart, Jason Denayer, Eliaquim Mangala, Bacary Sagna, Fabian Delph, David Silva, Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling are all in line to represent their nations, meaning there’s a good level of City representation in the tournament.

There are so many fascinating storylines to follow for the nations they will be representing, such as…

Will a vibrant, young England live up to their tag as tournament dark horses? Will France lift the trophy on home soil ala ’98? Can Belgium’s “Golden Generation” deliver against their promise? Have Spain got it in them to lift themselves once more after the disappointment of World Cup 2014?

Just two and a half weeks to go until we find out!

3 23 years of hurt

There is a sense that World Cup 2014 and Copa America 2015 were missed opportunities for an Argentine national team which hasn’t won a major honour since 1993.

This summer’s Copa America in the United States represents an ideal opportunity to put those disappointments behind them.

Any team with a strike force containing Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain and, of course, Sergio Aguero must be considered favourites for this special run of the South American championships which celebrates its centenary this year.

Nicolas Otamendi is the other City player in Gerardo Martino’s squad hoping to help end 23 years of hurt for the Albiceleste this summer.

4 Summer Activity

Outside of our own inherent excitement at the Guardiola appointment, the Premier League will now boast a staggering roll call of the most celebrated managers in the world game.

Antonio Conte (Chelsea), Jurgen Klopp (Liverpool) and, if the latest rumours to be believed, Jose Mourinho (United), will all be competing for the title, along with Leicester, Arsenal and Spurs who are sure to strengthen after their top three finishes.

New managers wanting to make their own imprint on their sides, a new lucrative TV deal kicking in, plus two major international tournaments all points to an unprecedented level of summer activity in the transfer market.

Who knows what the main contenders for the title will look like in August?

5 City on Tour

City are heading to China this summer where they will take on United at the Bird’s Nest Stadium in the first derby to take place outside of the UK in history.

It promises to be a memorable occasion for all present in Beijing on July 25 as the two rivals meet as part of the International Champions Cup.

It’s City’s first visit to the country for four years and is a rare opportunity for our legion of supporters in China to get up close and personal with their sky blue heroes.

As if that wasn’t exciting enough, in addition to the derby, Pep Guardiola will also renew rivalries with Borussia Dortmund in Shenzhen three days later for what should be another intriguing clash between two of Europe’s most exciting teams.

Bring it on!

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Hart saves the day for England at the Etihad

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Hart excited to bring England to Manchester

ENGLAND'S NO.1: Joe ready for Turkey test

Two worlds will collide for Joe Hart on Sunday evening when England take on Turkey.

Representing his country at the Etihad Stadium for the first time, Joe believes that this pre-Euro 2016 friendly is a significant moment for the game in Manchester and is happy that supporters in the city have this rare opportunity to have international football on their doorsteps.