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Man City’s Pre-Season Dilemma: How Pep Guardiola Will Juggle Stars Returning from Euros and Copa America

Manchester City are strategizing the return of their players from the European Championship and Copa America as they prepare for the upcoming season. The team has been divided into three distinct groups to manage their schedules effectively.

Group 1: Early Returnees

The first group includes players who will report for pre-season next week and travel to the United States for the pre-season tour with Pep Guardiola. This group features a mix of youngsters like James McAtee and Oscar Bobb, along with established stars such as Stefan Ortega, Jack Grealish, and Erling Haaland.

Group 2: Extended Absences

The second group comprises players Guardiola knows he will be without for a while. Julian Alvarez is heading straight from the Copa America to Paris for the Olympic Games. Meanwhile, either the Netherlands (with Nathan Ake) or England (Phil Foden, Kyle Walker, and John Stones) will reach the European Championship final, where Rodri and Spain also hope to compete.

Given the intense schedule, it is unlikely that any player from this group will join the US tour, as City prefers to give their stars ample rest.

Group 3: On the Fence

For those in the third group, City faces a decision about when they should join the pre-season squad. Mateo Kovacic and Josko Gvardiol, having exited the Euros on June 24, are expected to join most of the tour and could fly out with the main group on July 19. Kevin De Bruyne, whose Belgium team was eliminated on July 1, might join later, balancing commercial interests with the need for rest due to his fitness issues.

Matheus Nunes, with Portugal out on July 5, may join sooner to make more progress at City. Savio, after Brazil’s unexpected Copa America exit on July 6, also needs to adapt quickly to Guardiola’s demands, despite a grueling year.

Overall, there are 13 players – more than half of the squad – whose return schedules need careful planning. Ensuring the right balance between rest and preparation will be crucial for City’s success in the next 12 months, especially as they aim for a strong lineup against United in the Community Shield on August 10.

As Guardiola manages these returns, the focus will be on maintaining the players’ fitness while integrating them back into the squad smoothly.

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