De Bruyne and Sterling both available for Manchester City

Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling are available as Manchester City open the defence of their Premier League title at Arsenal on Sunday.

The pair both missed last weekend’s Community Shield victory over Chelsea at Wembley after enjoying delayed summer breaks following the World Cup.

De Bruyne and Sterling, who reached the semi-finals in Russia with Belgium and England respectively, returned to training on Monday and have quickly got back up to speed.

Belgium v England – FIFA World Cup 2018 – Third Place Play Off – St Petersburg Stadium
England’s Raheem Sterling, left, and Belgium’s Kevin De Bruyne, right, are both available for Manchester City this season (Tim Goode/PA)

“They are available,” said Guardiola at his pre-match press conference. “Raheem and Kevin arrived quite well.

“Three weeks off is not too much time after the World Cup and both arrived in the perfect way.

“Sterling was fit in four or five days. He’s not a big guy who needs training, he’s sharp so it’s easy.

“Kevin arrived in the perfect way. He’s going to be a father for the second time. He must look after his wife – that’s why he came back in a perfect way.”

Guardiola confirmed that City failed in their bid to obtain a work permit for Brazilian midfielder Douglas Luiz this week.

The 20-year-old, a £10million signing in 2017, was loaned out to Girona last season and is now likely to be sent out again for the coming season.

Guardiola had hoped to bolster his midfield options with Luiz after failing in an attempt to sign Jorginho, who opted to join Chelsea from Napoli.

City did not get endorsement from the Football Association for their work permit application and Guardiola was unhappy with the decision.

Guardiola said: “He’s not allowed. We are going to try to help him to go on loan again and try to get the work permit.

“It’s so difficult for me to understand. One guy who doesn’t see the player or any training sessions every day has to judge if (Douglas) has the ability and quality to play.

“I accept the rules but I don’t understand. I am so sad and disappointed for Douglas because he could help us.”

Guardiola hinted the club may have tried harder to sign additional players before Thursday’s transfer deadline had the decision been communicated earlier.

He said: “I would have preferred it if it wasn’t announced yesterday. If they decide the rules are the rules, let me know 15 days ago and maybe we can decide what we can do.”

Guardiola said he did not know on what criteria the application had failed.

He said: “I don’t know – not tall enough, doesn’t play enough, games in the past or something like that.”

One of the more unlikely stories of the summer saw Guardiola linked with the managerial vacancy for the Argentina national side.

Chelsea v Manchester City – Community Shield – Wembley Stadium
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola was not interested in the Argentina job (Mike Egerton/PA)

Argentinian Football Association president Claudio Tapia claimed an approach was made to Guardiola but the City boss was too expensive.

Guardiola said: “I’m a little bit disappointed because he cannot say (that). To know that he has to know my salary.

“Nobody contacted me because of course I have a contract and I want to stay here with this project until the end. It was not correct to say the reason why.”

He added: “The Argentina national team has to have an Argentinian manager.”

Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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