Manchester City’s senior men’s side have once again performed to a high standard during the final international break of 2023.
Over the course of the past two weeks, many members of Pep Guardiola’s side learned their fate ahead of the 2024 European Championships hosted by Germany, while other members continued to compete in South America to solidify a place at the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
Manchester City have largely now all returned to their City Football Academy training base as they look to finalise their preparations for the weekend’s clash against Liverpool, while assessment on player fitness is also expected to take place in the coming days.
Pep Guardiola’s players have largely emerged unscathed, however analysis on some injury and fitness problems that forced international call-up withdrawals will likely be detailed during the Manchester City manager’s press conference on Friday afternoon.
November 2023, International break round-up
Looking back on the past fortnight of international duties concerning Manchester City players, we first assess the European contingent.
In Group A of European Championship qualifying, Rodri’s Spain booked their ticket to Germany next summer. The Manchester City midfielder, alongside his Spanish international teammates, defeated Cyprus and Georgia.
There was a minor scare for the defensive midfield mainstay ahead of the first of two matches, with Rodri not risked against Cyprus due to fitness problems, only to return for the second contest and complete 86 minutes in a 3-1 win against Georgia.
Meanwhile, Erling Håland and Oscar Bobb played with their native Norway, facing Scotland in qualification, as well as the Faroe Islands in an international friendly. Rodri’s Spain won top spot while Norway finished third, meaning they will miss out on next year’s tournament.
On a night to remember, Bobb both scored and assisted in a 2-0 win over the Faroe Islands, whilst Erling Haaland sustained a minor injury problem that he appears to have shaken off ahead of the visit of Liverpool this weekend, despite having missed the second game against Scotland.
In Group C, a quintuple of Kyle Walker, Rico Lewis, Kalvin Phillips, Jack Grealish, and Phil Foden contributed in England’s contests with Malta and North Macedonia. Having already qualified for EURO 2024 during the previous international break, Gareth Southgate opted for rotation across the two matches.
Rico Lewis marked his full international debut with a Player of the Match performance against North Macedonia, whilst Grealish thought he had the ball in the back of the net against the same opposition, with the offside flag spoiling the claims.
It was also a proud night for Kyle Walker in North Macedonia, as the Manchester City captain claimed the international armband for the very first time, before handing it over to Harry Kane upon the arrival of the Bayern Munich forward onto the pitch.
In Group D, Croatia played two qualification matches against Latvia and Armenia. Joško Gvardiol featured and his country won both matches, and edged Wales for second place in the group. As such, the Croatians will also compete at EURO 2024.
Gvardiol completed 90 minutes in both contests whilst also securing clean sheets along the way, featuring as a left-back in the first of the two contests as he looked to transfer his skillset from his Manchester City experiences onto the international stage.
In Group F, Belgium and Jérémy Doku defeated Azerbaijan in qualification, as well as Serbia in an international friendly. That competitive result means that Belgium topped their group en route to next summer’s tournament.
While Romelu Lukaku may have grabbed the headlines for his four-goal haul against Azerbaijan, Manchester City’s winger registered two assists in a 5-0 win to continue his fine form so far this season.
In Group I, Manuel Akanji and Switzerland faced Israel in a rearranged contest, Kosovo, and Romania. The Swiss drew their match against the Kosovars and Israelis, losing to the Romanians. Results elsewhere, however, meant that they secured second place in the group ahead of Israel.
The City central defender completed 90 minutes in all three of the matches, meaning it is looking like a relentless run of scheduling for the Swiss international right through until England’s winter break in January.
Finally, in Group J, a Portuguese duo of Rúben Dias and Bernardo Silva faced Liechtenstein and Iceland. The Portuguese won both of their matches, and those results meant Portugal secured top spot in their group and will participate in next summer’s European competition.
Dias played no part in the opening contest as Bernardo Silva played up until the hour mark. Both men would however play a significant part in the 2-0 win over Iceland, with the midfielder contributing an assist in 62 minutes, with Dias completing the game and securing himself a clean sheet in the process.
Meanwhile, over in South America, Julián Álvarez participated in Argentina’s 2026 World Cup qualification matches, taking on Uruguay and Brazil. No goal contributions for the Manchester City forward in either match, as Argentina fell to a 0-2 defeat to Uruguay, before beating Brazil 0-1 on a fierce evening.
Fitness and injury notes
Ederson – The Manchester City goalkeeper withdrew from international action with Brazil due to a problem in his left-foot, understood to have been sustained in the 4-4 draw with Chelsea prior to his scheduled trip to South America.
Nathan Ake – The Dutchman did not link-up with his Netherlands teammates over the weekend that preceded the international break, having also been ruled out of Manchester City’s visit to Stamford Bridge with an injury.
Sergio Gomez – The Manchester City defender has been ruled out for some time through an ankle injury, but returned to training this week.
Mateo Kovacic – A late exit from the Croatia international set-up having sustained a muscular problem during the closing stages of Manchester City’s trip to Chelsea. The player is expected to be ruled out for another two weeks at a minimum.
Matheus Nunes – Guardiola’s summer signing pulled out of Portugal’s international camp having sustained some level of muscular discomfort during the early training sessions, but appears to have linked back up with his City teammates with no problem.
Players not called-up
Scott Carson, England
Stefan Ortega Moreno, Germany
Sergio Gomez, Spain (injury)
John Stones, England (injury)
Kevin De Bruyne, Belgium (injury)
Saudi Arabia ‘intensifying’ Kevin De Bruyne transfer pursuit amid Manchester City contract expiration
“They told me” – Manchester City star reveals impact of former defender on transfer decision
Manchester United and Liverpool reveal major injury blows ahead of crunch Manchester City fixtures
The BIG World-Cup Preview!
Manchester City undergo scouting mission on Juventus midfielder
Exclusive: Manchester City Plan Major Etihad Stadium Stand Redevelopment
News3 days ago
Pep Guardiola reveals fresh Kevin De Bruyne injury concern following Brentford win
Match Coverage3 days ago
Match Report and Player Ratings: Manchester City 1-0 Brentford (Premier League)
News2 days ago
La Liga sporting director makes case to sign Manchester City forward next summer
Transfers2 days ago
Manchester City face battle over signing of €130 million Bundesliga star – Liverpool and Real Madrid interested