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Guardiola confirm Rodri return but unsure of Zinchenko

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Rodri is unlikely to feature again for Manchester City before the next international break, but Pep Guardiola was able to shed some light on Oleksandr Zinchenko’s mystery injury.

Spain midfielder Rodri, who lined up at centre-back in City’s past two matches, pulled up with an apparent hamstring problem during the 5-1 Champions League win over Atalanta in midweek.

Guardiola was hoping for positive news following scans but was told Rodri would likely not return until after the November internationals, which follow immediately after City’s huge trip to Premier League leaders Liverpool.

“They told me that after the international break, [Rodri] will be ready again,” Guardiola told a news conference ahead of facing Aston Villa on Saturday.

Another defensive option who will miss the Liverpool game is Zinchenko, who was ruled out of Champions League action this week with an unspecified knee injury.

The Ukraine international then uploaded a picture from a hospital bed, seemingly after surgery, but Guardiola is expecting the left-back to be back within four to six weeks.

“[Zinchenko] had a contact with the knee and felt something in the bone,” he said. “He has to stop for four weeks, five weeks, more or less.

“He had something [surgery] to clean the knee. It’s not a big issue, but five weeks, six weeks he will be out.”

Rodri’s absence could spell a return to first-team action for John Stones, who has started only twice in the league this season after ending the previous campaign out of the team.

“First choice? It’s not about being first choice, it’s about being fit,” Guardiola said. “For a long time, [Stones] was injured in this period – a long, long time, many, many injuries.

“He could not play. Then he came back last season and Vinny [Kompany] and [Aymeric] Laporte were in incredible top form in a part of the season where I want to have regularity in the central defenders.

“This season, injury, injury, injury, injury. Sometimes, to get a rhythm, you need more time.”

by Getty Images

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