Pep Guardiola has revealed that Erling Haaland is ‘still not perfect’ despite coming off the bench to net the winner against Fulham over the weekend, throwing his participation in Manchester City’s final two games ahead of the World Cup into doubt.
Haaland, who arrived at the Etihad from Borussia Dortmund in the summer, began the season in red hot form and has already netted 18 times this season, just five fewer than last season’s golden boot winners managed.
However, he was taken off at half-time in the Champions League group stage clash against his former side, and was forced to sit out his side’s 1-0 win over Leicester City, though he came on as a second-half substitute a week later against Fulham.
Nonetheless, Guardiola has warned that he is not certain to continue his return to the side, with injury still dogging the 21 year old.
“He is still not perfect”, the Cityzens boss explained. “We will see tomorrow and on Saturday. He is getting better. What’s important is the bone is not broken so there’s no damage, just the ligament is damaged a little bit. It’s not perfect right now, but in one week or 10 days anything can happen - it can change.”
Norway are not heading to the World Cup, but they do have two friendly matches against Finland and the Republic or Ireland in the coming weeks, and Guardiola revealed that his no.9 could play a part.
“If he feels good. To play for the national team is important for the players. I have no problem for players to when they are fit to play for the national team”, he added.
In better news, Kalvin Phillips is expected to be part of the matchday squad against Chelsea, which will put him in contention for Gareth Southgate’s England squad, due to be announced just ahead of the game.