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Other SportsGuardiola confirms Haaland ready to start, rubbishes Madrid reports

Guardiola confirms Haaland ready to start, rubbishes Madrid reports

Pep Guardiola has confirmed Erling Haaland could return to Manchester City’s starting lineup when they face Brentford on Monday, also rubbishing reports that the striker is unhappy in England.

Haaland missed 10 games across all competitions throughout December and January after suffering what was initially thought to be a minor foot injury in a Premier League defeat to Aston Villa.

Guardiola later revealed Haaland had sustained a fracture in his foot, and the striker only returned to action on Wednesday, playing 20 minutes as a substitute as City beat Burnley 3-1 at the Etihad Stadium.

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City have handled the Norwegian’s absence well, recording 10 wins and one draw across all competitions since he suffered the injury, but they could be boosted by his return to the starting XI at the Gtech Community Stadium on Monday.

Asked if Haaland was fit enough to start at Friday’s pre-match press conference, Guardiola said: “Yeah. He’s ready. Everyone is ready.

“Manuel [Akanji] is back as well. The busy period is here, and the Champions League is around the corner. It’s good to have everyone.”

Despite spending almost two months on the sidelines, Haaland remains the Premier League’s joint-leading scorer this season, with only Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah matching his 14 goals in the competition.

Earlier this week, reports in the Spanish media suggested Haaland has grown tired of life in Manchester and is interested in a move to Real Madrid, but Guardiola has rubbished those suggestions.

“I don’t know, you have to ask the media from Madrid if [Haaland’s camp] are happy. Maybe they have more info than we have,” Guardiola said.

“I don’t have that feeling he’s unhappy. He was… because he didn’t play for two months, he was injured. But maybe the media from Spain, especially Madrid, have more information than us!

“You cannot say he didn’t adapt quickly or he was not fine since he arrived, with the level he showed since day one.

“We can’t control what you say or the people say. If he’s happy or not happy, he will take his decision.”

Harry Carr
Harry Carr
Harry is a freelance sports journalist with experience of working for the Racing Post, Stats Perform, Opta Analyst and more, covering major events across all sports but holding a particular love for the beautiful game.
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