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Media Watch: Kompany injury boost

ROAD TO RUSSIA: Vincent Kompany has been included in Belgium's 23-man World Cup squad

ROAD TO RUSSIA: Vincent Kompany has been included in Belgium's 23-man World Cup squad

Today’s media focus remains firmly fixed on Russia 2018 where, of course, England open their World Cup campaign later today with several of the favourites having made poor starts to the tournament.

But we start with City skipper Vincent Kompany and the encouraging news that he is to remain part of Belgium’s World Cup squad despite his injury concern.

The central defender was forced off with an injury in a friendly in May and will not figure in the Red Devils’ World Cup opener against Panama later today.

However, manager Roberto Martinez revealed yesterday that he expected Kompany to be fit to play his part in the campaign sooner rather than later.

Speaking to the BBC, Martinez said: "We are going to maintain the squad of 23 as announced.

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Martinez could have made a change to his squad on Sunday, the day before Belgium begin their World Cup campaign against Panama in Sochi.

"We are not going to use any changes," said the former Everton boss. "Vinny has evolved better than we thought, even though we thought that he could have a good opportunity to be involved in the group phase.

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"Now he has a stronger opportunity."

Martinez said Kompany is "a very valuable part" of his squad due to his "experience" and "know-how".

Group rivals England also start their campaign this evening against Tunisia and Chelsea and Spain star Cesc Fabregas believes that City winger Raheem Sterling could prove to be a pivotal figure for the Three Lions.

Writing in his debut World Cup column for the Telegraph, Fabregas credits the influence of City boss Pep Guardiola on Sterling’s superb development this season and tips him to shine for England in Russia.

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“Sterling had a great season, he has fantastic qualities. People say he does not score enough goals, but still what he offers the team going in behind, running, he gives something to the team that I think will be very, very important,” Fabregas wrote.

“I can see the influence Pep Guardiola has had on him. He’s so fast, he has pace, but I think Pep, tactically, made him much better.

“From what I see when we play against him, he has got the qualities to go in behind and attack the lines because he is so fast. He did not used to do it, but Pep has put it in his mind that ‘listen, you are the player who can score 20, 25 goals a season easily.

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“You need to make runs behind and get into the box’. When he takes you on one against one, you have no chance and England need to take advantage of this. He can deliver.”

Elsewhere in Russia, Sergio Aguero has stoutly defended Lionel Messi after the Argentina skipper’s penalty miss cost them victory in their group opener against Iceland on Saturday.

City record scorer Kun opened the scoring with a sensational strike before the European opponents hit back to level.

Messi’s spot-kick miss meant Argentina had to settle for a point but Aguero said it was wrong to blame the Barcelona superstar.

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"Leo showed he's human," said Aguero. "We support him.

"He just had a bad day, but we know that he can give us the victory at any moment of the game. I hope he can be better for the next match against Croatia.

"The first match is always the most difficult. Everyone wants to play against us.

“Iceland were defending. Their only chances to score were from a set- piece or looking for the second play.

"I think they celebrated the draw as a victory.”

 

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