Current Date: 4 Jun, 2023

Five Man City players are on international duty with something to prove

Most of Manchester City's players will be away on international duty for the next two weeks, so Pep Guardiola wants them to stay in top condition. As his Manchester City players begin their international duty this week, Pep Guardiola has a straightforward message for them: avoid getting hurt.

It's a well-known directive, and Guardiola worries about it frequently because City has no control over the fitness of its players when they are away on international duty. Guardiola will need all his players to be at the peak of their physical fitness levels if City is to have a successful season. 

Guardiola will need all of his players to be at the height of their physical condition if the Blues will win a treble. City has at least 14 games left this season, which will increase to 18 if they reach two finals.

Additionally, Guardiola hopes that some underperforming players will use the two international games to get some much-needed playing time, turn things around, and expand his pool of potential starting options when the domestic games resume.

Five of those players, in particular, will be vying to represent their nations and regain their rhythm in their performances:

Aymeric Laporte


Seven of the last 21 City games have seen Laporte start; four of those seven have been FA Cup or Carabao Cup contests. Since the World Cup, he has started just three out of the last 13 Premier League games. 

Overall, he has only played in half of the 28 games for which he has been eligible this season. Laporte could benefit from two starts against Erling Haaland's Norway and then Scotland while Spain is currently on the road, so Pep Guardiola is reminded of his defensive prowess.

Guardiola prefers Ruben Dias, John Stones, and Manuel Akanji over Laporte, so the center-back will likely appreciate the chance to make consecutive starts for the second time since the World Cup.

Kalvin Phillips


Phillips might be among the unexpected England selections, given his limited game time for City. He will be eager to play for his country, as this is where he has played his best football for the last two years.

There may be a midfield opening for England against Italy and Ukraine, even though Gareth Southgate frequently uses players in a slightly more advanced role.

After a season cut short by injury, Phillips is gradually getting more playing time at City. Guardiola appears eager to develop his £42 million acquisition as Rodri's backup. The City will need Rodri for as much of that stretch as possible because they know that from this point on, every game is a must-win. 

Having Phillips perform at his peak will significantly help relieve Rodri's burden.

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Riyad Mahrez


Mahrez won't be perceived as underperforming at City right now. Still, he will undoubtedly be miffed about being benched recently after a stellar run of play. He is a victim of the fact that Phil Foden and Jack Grealish are currently better options, but once he was brought back to the team, he continued where he left off.

Mahrez qualifies because Guardiola claims he needs more than the same starting XI to be in good form. So the Algerian captain will undoubtedly begin their games this week, allowing him to maintain his high standards and return to City to try to unseat Foden and Grealish.

Cole Palmer


On the 19th attempt, Palmer scored his first goal of the season for City with a tap-in against Burnley. He will now join the England under-21 team, where he has recently benefited from increasing responsibility. Palmer chose to remain at City this season instead of going out on loan, but he has needed help getting into games.

Palmer will benefit significantly from any extended starts for England because he has only made five starts for City this season and has only played for 90 minutes twice. Palmer will be required to perform when called upon off the bench, just like other City auxiliary players. 

Despite making a few mistakes, he has had difficulty doing that, but he can begin his season with the Young Lions.

Maximo Perrone


The surprise debut of City's January acquisition against Bournemouth was promising, and since his arrival, he has been named to five matchday squads. Perrone will be able to impress Lionel Scaloni in the World Champions' first squad since winning the World Cup in Qatar.

This was after receiving a call-up to the senior Argentina squad for the first time with Julian Alvarez. To make the most of his first senior call-up, possibly make his international debut, and return to City in good spirits, Perrone will now hope to learn as much as he can from a debut senior call-up. 

Unfortunately, he could not help Argentina's under-20s recover from a disappointing group-stage exit at the under-20 South American Championships in January.

Excellence Chukwuma Chukwunaedu

Excellence Chukwuma Chukwunaedu

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