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A summer signing from PEC Zwolle, the Dutch central defender has had to bide his time as he worked on his rehabilitation after having treatment on a knee injury.
But after returning to training earlier this month, Sandler played for 45 minutes as City’s EDS side went down 1-0 away at Everton on Saturday night.
Sandler produced an excellent individual display. Strong in the tackle and composed in possession, he also caught the eye with two pin-point 50-yard passes upfield which transformed defence into attack in an instant.
And he admitted he was happy at having made his return to competitive action.
Philippe said: “It was my first few minutes and it felt really good to be back.
“I’ve worked hard so I was happy to be out there.
“For the first 10 minutes or so I had to get into the feeling of the game, but it felt good to be back and to play with the lads, so I was really happy.
“With it being my first game, we had a chat about it and they said just to play 45 minutes maximum, even if you feel good.
“They key was not to try and rush anything.”
Having officially joined the Club at the start of August, Sandler has had to be patient during his rehabilitation.
But having got vital minutes under his belt at the weekend, he is now looking forward to stepping up his return to full fitness.
“I had an issue with my knee towards the end of last season and it got worse,” Philippe recalled.
“That was five and half months ago so it has been frustrating but it’s part of the game, so you have to keep your head up and go on.
“When I came off at the weekend my knee felt good so that was the most important thing. Now I’m just looking forward.”
EDS head coach Paul Harsley said he was delighted to be able to utilise Sandler’s quality alongside what was a young side at Goodison and help aid in his return to full fitness.
Said Harsley: “Philippe played well. Both he and Kevin De Bruyne trained with us for a week earlier this month during the international break and they both showed an excellent attitude.
“Phillipe’s gone out there and played for the 45 minutes. He’s working his way back to full fitness and I couldn’t have asked for any more from him.
“He showed some real quality on the ball and a good attitude and now the Club will decide what the best plan for Philippe is.”
Probably the biggest challenge for the 21-year-old on his return to action was the bone-chilling temperatures that greeted the players at Goodison Park.
The mild Autumn weather gave way to a sudden Arctic blast over the weekend.
“It was really cold out there,” Philippe added. “The weather has been really good in Manchester since I joined the Club.
“When I first came, some people said the weather would be bad but up to now it has been great, but Saturday was very cold!”
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