Mens Team

Sandler kicking on after injury lay off

Sandler kicking on after injury lay off
City fans haven’t seen much of Philippe Sandler since his summer move from PEC Zwolle.

The 21-year-old centre back suffered a cartilage tear earlier in the campaign and needed an operation on his knee to cure the issue.

The highly-rated Holland Under-20 defender was initially part of the Ajax youth system before spending two years with Eredivisie side PEC.

He played 30 games for the Dutch side before joining the Blues at the end of July.

He returned to EDS action in October against Everton, adding further minutes against Blackburn and had a full 90 minutes earlier this month against Barnsley in the Checkatrade Trophy – scoring in the ensuing penalty shoot-out.

                        SANDLER : In action for Holland Under-20s
SANDLER : In action for Holland Under-20s

“I’ve been back in training for about six weeks after tearing my meniscus and I had my first full game against Barnsley in the Checkatrade Trophy,” said Sandler.

“It’s a lot different here in England. Physically, it’s much more demanding and Pep wants us to play a certain way and one that I am, of course, learning.”

Sandler explained learning the ‘City way’ is key to playing in the style Guardiola wants all his defenders to play.

“You have to be confident on the ball, able to receive passes under pressure and be able to start playing out from deep positions – that’s how I played in Holland and that is why I was brought to City.

“I think my playing style is the reason I’m here now because I play in a way the manager wants.

“All the central defenders we have at City are top-line players and it’s a privilege to be able to train with them and learn from them every day.

“I watch every game closely and during every training session watch what they do, how they cope with the pressure in certain situations and suchlike.

“It’s really good here – the players and the staff have been great with me and the I really like Manchester as a city and the people are really nice, too. I’m really happy.

“The main thing for me was to get fit and I’m getting there – not quite at the same match fitness level as I need to be yet, but obviously I’m working hard to be 100% fit and ready to play if needed.

“If I can get an opportunity to be involved in any of the squads in the New Year it would be fantastic, but I just have to work hard and see what happens."

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