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Guardiola: Akanji ready for City debut

Guardiola: Akanji ready for City debut
Pep Guardiola says new recruit Manuel Akanji could make his Manchester City debut in our Champions League opener away to Sevilla.

The defender was signed on deadline day from German side Borussia Dortmund, but was unavailable for Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Aston Villa following the birth of his second child on Friday.

But with Kyle Walker brought off towards the end of the game due to injury, the Swiss international could be in line for his first City appearance on Tuesday evening.

Speaking about Akanji, Guardiola says he has been impressed with how the 27-year-old has hit the ground running since his summer switch and is confident he will be ready should he be called upon.

When asked whether the defender would travel to Seville, the boss responded: “I think so. He feels good.

“He couldn’t be here [against Aston Villa] because he had a baby born, so congratulations to him, his wife and family.

“[But] he is ready, he came back really well from Dortmund.

“He’s trained one day. Friday afternoon he flew to his wife.

“I think today [Saturday] or tomorrow [Sunday] he is coming back to Manchester.”

With the Qatar World Cup taking place this winter, the Group Stages of the Champions League will be concluded by early November.

It means City must juggle the demands of European ties against Sevilla and Borussia Dortmund, as well as a Premier League clash with high-flyers Tottenham sandwiched between, in the next ten days.

Asked whether he had devised a particular plan to keep legs fresh ahead of a busy run of fixtures, Guardiola insisted he and the squad are instead taking things on a game by game basis.

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He said: “No, I’m not thinking far away.

“Now [the question] is how many players we have available for Sevilla, then after Tottenham.

“[We are taking it] step by step, I’m not thinking much. We will see.”