Manchester City returned to pre-season training on Monday, as they look to begin work ahead of the defence of their Premier League title, won in record breaking fashion in 2017/18 with new benchmarks for points, wins and goals scored.
Despite having a reduced squad at his disposal as a result of City sending as many as 16 players to the World Cup, Pep Guardiola was out on the training pitch leading the session.
Oleksandr Zinchenko, Jason Denayer, Phil Foden and Tosin Adarabioyo were among those present as part of a largely youthful group that was put through its paces.
City will begin their programme of pre-season friendlies in the United States later this month, with the first in just 11 days’ time as Guardiola’s team face Borussia Dortmund in Chicago. There are then two further games against Liverpool in New Jersey and Bayern Munich in Miami.
With seven City players from three countries still at the World Cup, it will be early August before the English champions have a full squad available.
Having seen their countries eliminated from the World Cup, David Silva, Fernandinho, Gabriel Jesus, Bernardo Silva and others are now taking a well earned rest and it could be a few weeks before they are ready to begin training.
Even just a short three week holiday for the likes of Kevin de Bruyne, Vincent Kompany, John Stones and the rest of the group the club has dubbed ‘The Magnificent Seven’ would mean returning to training only a few days before the season opener against Arsenal on 12th August.
They would almost certainly be ruled out of the curtain raising Community Shield against FA Cup winner Chelsea the week before.