The return of a fit and focussed Benjamin Mendy after lockdown has brought a cautiously enthusiastic welcome from Pep Guardiola. The Manchester City manager has been frustrated with the France left back’s injury problems for two seasons, and has also been concerned about social media activities which he felt were a distraction from his football. But Mendy has kept a lower profile since returning from his latest injury setback at the start of the year, and his start against Arsenal last week was his fifth consecutive appearance in Premier League and Champions League.
Pep Guardiola said “As a left back he is an extraordinary player but we cannot forget he has played just one game, But it’s true he came back so fit after the lockdown and he was focused – but it’s just one game. With Benji we need to wait a little bit and hopefully in this period he can play a lot of games and play regularly because he’s a guy we missed a lot. Fabian Delph and Oleks (Zinchenko) helped us a lot in this position, sometimes with Danilo and Joao (Cncelo) too, but it’s so important for us to have him and hopefully he can continue training and do what he has done so far after lockdown. Of course, the quality of Benjamin is going outside but he is learning to play inside as well, It’s not just about the situation with Leroy. Leroy is a personal situation. It’s not just about this, for Benji it is about being fit. He loves to play football, being on the pitch. He plays without pressure, he handles the pressure really well on the big stages. He’s a player we can count on, but we could not count on him for two years and that’s a long time. Every players needs minutes and to be fit. We want him to be ready to help us and play.”
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