Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is confident that the club’s contingent of England players will return to training with a spring in their step after reaching the final of the European Championship.
The Three Lions reached the final of a men’s major tournament for the first time since 1966, only to suffer penalty shoot-out heartache at the hands of Italy, losing 3-2 on spot-kicks.
Kyle Walker, John Stones, Phil Foden and Raheem Sterling are all poised to return to City’s Etihad Campus training base today to begin their preparations for the start of the new Premier League season.
The only member of the England squad to have participated in training with City so far this summer is new arrival Jack Grealish, who made his debut in Saturday’s FA Community Shield defeat to Leicester City, following his switch from Aston Villa.
Although the aforementioned quartet’s late return to training will have forced Guardiola into tweaking his pre-season plans, the City chief believes the club will be able to take full advantage of the success they enjoyed on the international stage during the summer.
“All of them played really well. I am glad and happy for them, Guardiola told City’s club website. “They have played many years together and they made an incredible achievement.
“When you reach the final of the Euros it is a big thing. They have to be happy and so proud that they could help England make a good tournament.
“Of course, they have to be so proud of what they have done with their national team, the benefits, the confidence will be there.
“But the past is the past. What you have done with the national team is for the memories. The challenge is ahead of us and we will try to do a good season.”
While Walker, Stones and Sterling will be looking to hit the ground running and force themselves back into the team as quickly as possible, patience will be required with Foden.
The Stockport-born midfielder, who missed the final of Euro 2020 with a foot problem, is not ready to return just yet, with Guardiola confirming on Friday that he will be out for a “while.”
“Phil will be out for a while, a tough injury, we have to be careful with it,” Guardiola revealed.
Do you want an exclusive pre-season City preview – both in your inbox and through your letterbox? Head over here to find out more and secure your copy!