Guardiola jokes he’ll come out of retirement to battle City’s growing absentee list
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has joked he is willing to lace up his boots again to face Newcastle – 17 years after retiring from playing.
The Citizens travel to St James’ Park later this week for their Carabao Cup third round clash with a growing absentee list.
Skipper Kevin De Bruyne is out until January with a hamstring injury, while John Stones, Mateo Kovacic and Bernardo Silva are all nursing their own problems.
To make matters worse for Guardiola, his Spanish compatriot Rodri will be out for three games following his red card against Nottingham Forest.
The defensive midfielder, who scored City’s winner in last season’s Champions League final, was sent off for grabbing Morgan Gibbs-White by the throat.
And with City still having to play four matches in two weeks until the next international break, Guardiola knows he must rotate his side against the Magpies.
This has seen him joke he is ready mark his return to the pitch following a distinguished playing career that ended in 2006 at Mexican outfit Dorados.
Guardiola, who won 15 trophies at Barcelona between 1990-2001 and recently recovered from back surgery, said: “Some players who’ve had a lot of minutes are not going to play against Newcastle.
“The Carabao Cup is great for all the guys who don’t play regularly. They can play some minutes and that’s perfect.
“But for the other players I’m not going to waste one per cent of energy for Carabao Cup.
“The likes of Kyle [Walker], Ruben [Dias] – playing 90 minutes for us, 90 for the national team, they are exhausted already.
“That’s why we are going to play with the guys who need it, the academy, maybe me.
“My back is getting better so I might manage a few minutes!”
With Rodri suspended, Guardiola hinted that forgotten man Kalvin Phillips could feature against Newcastle after his impressive cameo off the bench on Saturday.
Guardiola remarked: “He played really well, the type of game that we needed. I’m so pleased for him because he’s an incredible guy.
“He’s not fazed about his minutes and he’s a national player with England. With us he hasn’t played much, but he’s really helped us.”
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