Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has confirmed that defenders Kyle Walker and John Stones will miss Tuesday’s Champions League clash away against Sevilla due to injury.
Walker signalled to be withdraw in the final 10 minutes of City’s 1-1 draw against Aston Villa last weekend with an apparent muscle problem.
Stones, meanwhile, played the full 90 minutes at Villa Park and moved to right-back as soon as Walker was replaced.
While Walker was not involved in first-team training on Monday morning, Stones was spotted with the rest of his teammates, but neither player have been selected in Guardiola’s 21-man travelling squad to Seville.
Speaking at a press conference on Monday evening, Guardiola revealed that both defenders are suffering with muscular injuries – with Stones seemingly sustaining his problem in training – and the Spaniard suggested that the pair could be ruled out for next couple of games, while new arrival Manuel Akanji is available for selection after missing the draw at Villa.
The 27-year-old Swiss centre-back, who joined the Citizens on deadline day from Borussia Dortmund, was granted time away from the first-team squad after his wife gave birth to their second son over the weekend.
When questioned on all three defenders, Guardiola said: “[Walker and Stones are] injured, both are injured. We are lucky the club give me Manuel Akanji otherwise we be in real trouble. The club moved quick to bring in another player in this position.
“The history for John and Nathan [Ake] they aren’t quite reliable to play every week. It is what it is. Mainly because this incredible schedule for many years, the players cannot sustain it for a long time.”
When pressed on the severity of their injuries, the Spaniard added: “John is not much, Kyle not much too but I don’t know if he’s ready for Saturday or Dortmund or Wolves after the international break.”
The loss of both Walker and Stones will likely see Joao Cancelo handed a start at right-back, with either Sergio Gomez or Nathan Ake operating at left-back.
Should Ake be given the nod at left-back, Akanji could be handed his Man City debut at the heart of the defence alongside Ruben Dias.
Aymeric Laporte is City’s other injury concern, with the centre-back yet to play in any game so far this season after undergoing knee surgery over the summer.
One positive on the injury front for Guardiola’s side is the return of midfielder Kalvin Phillips, who trained with the first-team on Monday and has been included in the travelling squad after recovering from a shoulder issue.
Man City have made an unbeaten start to the new campaign, winning four and drawing two of their opening six Premier League fixtures, and they currently sit just a point behind Arsenal at the top of the table.
Last season’s Champions League semi-finalists will now focus on their first Group G game in Europe’s elite club competition, and they travel to Spain having won only three of their last 13 away matches against Spanish opposition.
Nevertheless, City won both of their previous two encounters against Sevilla in the 2015-16 Champions League group stage, winning 2-1 on home soil before securing a 3-1 victory in the reverse fixture at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium.
Manchester City’s 21-man squad to face Sevilla:
Ederson, Scott Carson, Stefan Ortega, Ruben Dias, Kalvin Phillips, Nathan Ake, Joao Cancelo, Ilkay Gundogan, Erling Braut Haaland, Jack Grealish, Rodri, Kevin De Bruyne, Julian Alvarez, Bernardo Silva, Sergio Gomez, Manuel Akanji, Riyad Mahrez, Phil Foden, Cole Palmer, Rico Lewis, Josh Wilson-Esbrand.