Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has revealed that £60m record signing Riyad Mahrez is likely to play in the curtain raiser Community Shield against Chelsea on Sunday after overcoming an ankle injury suffered during pre-season.
City fans feared the worst when Mahrez was seen in a protective boot after taking a knock to the ankle in a friendly against Bayern Munich. But the club subsequently cleared him to resume training, with Guardiola now giving the go ahead for Sunday.
"Mahrez is good. He had a little bit of pain but he trained the day before yesterday - I think [he can play on Sunday]," Guardiola commented at a press conference, via ManCity.com.
Others will be missing, however, with Kevin de Bruyne and Raheem Sterling not due to start training until Monday after the World Cup delayed their summer break.
City had seven players stay until the final weekend of the World Cup with England, France and Belgium, but Guardiola has revealed he will have a full squad to call on as of next week.
"Kevin and Sterling are not here but they will be back after the game on Sunday," the boss explained. From Monday we will be back all together and think about what we have to do to keep last season’s level."
Whether that means, De Bruyne, Sterling, John Stones, Vincent Kompany and the others will have done enough training to face Arsenal in the opening Premier League game of the season on Sunday 12th August remains to be seen.
Back to the Community Shield, and Guardiola is looking forward to facing new Chelsea manager Maurizo Sarri, having previously met the Italian in the Champions League during his time in charge of Napoli just last season.
"I am happy that he is here in the Premier League. I will learn a lot to see his team every weekend. I saw three games - he gets it, the team in a short time plays like he wants," he said.
"I think it will be a good game, always Chelsea is a big rival. Antonio [Conte] was, Maurizio will be too. The style of play will be perfect for English football."