x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

World Cup players may sit out Manchester City’s friendly against Al Ain

Pellegrini refuses to take firm stance on their participation but says it would be a "risk" to play them

Vincent Kompany, left, pictured during a training session at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on May 14, 2014, is one of several Manchester City stars expected to sit out the club's friendly against Al Ain at the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium on May 15. Satish Kumar / The National
Vincent Kompany, left, pictured during a training session at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on May 14, 2014, is one of several Manchester City stars expected to sit out the club's friendly against Al Ain at the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium on May 15. Satish Kumar / The National

The toils of a long season and an impending World Cup mean that Manchester City are likely to rest several of Brazil-bound players in their game against Al Ain at the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium on Thursday.

As many as 10 of City’s squad are due to play a part in the sport’s showpiece event in Brazil this summer. The England manager Roy Hodgson had requested City this month to not involve Joe Hart and James Milner in the game.

Manuel Pellegrini did not definitively confirm the players, as well as others, would not take part but acknowledged it would be a “risk” to play them.

“All the players that are in national squads for the World Cup, we will see whether they play,” Pellegrini said. “It is a risk for all of them. They are very happy to come with the whole squad here in Abu Dhabi. I think tomorrow will be, I will ask all of them, but it will be difficult for them to play.”

City’s captain Vincent Kompany is likely to be one of those to sit out, given that he will lead Belgium’s squad this summer.

Kompany said he was looking forward to watching Omar Abdulrahman play again but conceded he might not be on the pitch to do so.

“I remember Omar because I was there when he trained with us,” he said. “He’s a good player and I was hearing he is doing well, so it’ll be good to see him back. Regarding the game, we have the World Cup to come.

“The main thing is to be here to celebrate, to represent the link between City and Abu Dhabi and the UAE. That is our mission today. The game, if we can play, good, if not, we have plenty of great experiences so far already.”

osamiuddin@thenational.ae

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