Pep Guardiola is delighted with Raheem Sterling's form but has urged the Manchester City attacker to ignore comparisons to Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

The England international has starred for club and country this season with eight goals and three assists in seven matches.

Sterling earned plenty of plaudits following his man of the match display against Kosovo on Tuesday, with former City and England winger Trevor Sinclair claiming he is on the same level as Ronaldo and Messi.

Guardiola has played down the comparisons, however, believing that nobody can match the two players who have battled it out to be the world's best for more than a decade.

"I'm so happy for him, for the way he's playing here and national team, but hopefully he won't read or listen to these kind of things," Guardiola said at Friday's news conference. 

"Nobody can compare with Cristiano or Messi. 

"I don't know if he's the best in England. Since we're together, not just now, he's been incredible with his work ethic. He's a nice guy. I'm delighted for him."

Sterling has been responsible for five of City's 14 goals in their opening four Premier League matches, the reigning champions collecting 10 points from their opening run of fixtures.

Liverpool are two points better off with a perfect return but Guardiola insisted it is too early to call it a two-horse race at the summit, especially with the games now coming thick and fast.

Speaking ahead of City's trip to Norwich City on Saturday, Guardiola told reporters: "I'm not predicting. Every week there are incredible predictions - there's a tendency for that but we've played four league games and that's nothing.

"We start the real competition, we play Saturday, then travel, play Wednesday, land Thursday, Saturday we have Premier League and then we go to Preston to play in the EFL Cup. 

"Of the next five games we've got four away, so many things can happen. We've had two terrible injuries with Leroy [Sane] and Aymeric [Laporte]. 

"It's too early to say what is going to happen. Chelsea, United, Tottenham, Everton doing well, everything can happen, but it's four games. In February or March we can say better. Now it's just four games and it's nothing."

Manchester City defender Aymeric Laporte will miss up to six months after undergoing surgery on his knee, manager Pep Guardiola has said.

The France centre-back damaged cartilage and the lateral meniscus in his right knee during City's 4-0 win against Brighton and Hove Albion on August 31 and had an operation four days later.

Guardiola on Friday confirmed the extent of Laporte's injury for the first time, with the 25-year-old not expected to play again in 2019.

Asked how long Laporte will be out, Guardiola told reporters at a news conference: "Long time. Five months, six months. Next year, sure."

Laporte's long-term lay-off leaves Guardiola short of options at the back, but John Stones is back in contention after recovering from a thigh problem that has kept him on the sidelines for the past five weeks.

Former Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany insisted John Stones will prove his quality and silence his critics.

Stones has won two Premier League titles among other honours since joining City from Everton in 2016, however, doubts remain over the England international's long-term credentials in Manchester.

Errors and a lack of consistency have raised questions over Stones, who started 20 league matches last season but missed most of the run-in as Pep Guardiola preferred Kompany.

However, Kompany – who has since departed City for Anderlecht in a player-coach role – backed the 25-year-old to prove his doubters wrong.

"I've always said John is one of the most talented defenders. He's got such a bright future," Kompany said.

"He's already achieved a lot, let's not forget that. He's not a young defender anymore that hasn't got any experience. He's a multiple Premier League-winning central defender that is growing.

"The one thing I wish for him is consistency - consistency of games and consistency of fitness - and then he will show the world how good he is.

"By the end of it, if City can win a Champions League or something, all of a sudden he'll be mentioned in a completely different category.

"He just has to get himself on the pitch, be himself and he'll be fine. I've not seen signs of weakness I need to be worried about.

"He's just a top-class defender. If now he gets to play games things will sort themselves out, no doubt."

Stones started in City's season-opening 5-0 rout of West Ham, however, a thigh injury has forced him to miss matches against Tottenham, Bournemouth and Brighton and Hove Albion.

Referees chief Mike Riley accepts VAR has missed four errors in the Premier League this season but promised officials are "constantly learning".

The new technology was introduced at the start of the 2019-20 campaign to mixed response, intervening on six occasions across the first four matchweeks after 227 reviews.

Much of the focus has been on incidents where VAR has not had an input, however, and Riley, manager of the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), acknowledged four mistakes in a meeting with the Premier League on Thursday.

He told Sky Sports: "We're learning as we go along and we're constantly improving as we go along.

"Undoubtedly, out of the four match rounds, there have been some really good examples where we have intervened. We've had six instances where the VAR has advised the referee and we've got a better decision as a result.

"What we've talked about are the four instances where the VAR didn't intervene and, had we done, we would have had a better understanding of the role VAR plays in the game."

Explaining the errors, he continued: "They're all about the judgement of the VAR and the process we adopt and then discussing those with the clubs, with the players, with the managers to make sure these really are examples where the VAR could have had a benefit and intervened and helped the referee on the day.

"It's a combination of factors. That's the fascinating thing as this project evolves. We're constantly learning as we do things.

"On occasion, it was a judgement decision the VAR made, on one, it was a process mistake, and on others, it was trying to protect the high bar we want to not disrupt the flow of the game.

"On these two occasions, actually, the judgement should have been that the high bar had been crossed, it was a clear and obvious error and the VAR could have advised the referee of that."

It is reported the four incidents Riley flagged up in the meeting were Jefferson Lerma's challenge on David Silva, Youri Tielemans' apparent stamp on Callum Wilson, Fabian Schar's goal for Newcastle United against Watford and Tom Trybull's trip on Sebastien Haller.

FABIAN SCHAR GOAL

The VAR was criticised when Gabriel Jesus had a goal disallowed for City as Aymeric Laporte appeared to handle against Tottenham. A similar incident went unpunished when Newcastle drew with Watford. Isaac Hayden knocked down Emil Krafth's cross with his arm for Schar to score and earn the Magpies a point.

TRYBULL ON HALLER

Haller netted the opener as West Ham defeated Norwich City 2-0 on August 31, but the margin of victory could have been wider. The Hammers should have had a penalty when Trybull tripped Haller as he advanced into the area, but no foul was given.

LERMA ON SILVA

The first error of the season came in Manchester City's 3-1 win at Bournemouth on August 25. Lerma clearly stepped on Silva's foot inside the area, but no penalty was given to the champions.

TIELEMANS ON WILSON

The only instance in which a player should have been sent off but was not saw an awful Tielemans challenge go over the ball onto Wilson's ankle, with not even a free-kick awarded. The Belgium midfielder went on to score in Leicester City's 3-1 win over Bournemouth.

NOTABLE NON-AWARDS

It appears the PGMOL were satisfied with several other high-profile incidents.

Pep Guardiola believed Rodri should have had a penalty against Tottenham when Erik Lamela pulled him to the ground, while Spurs themselves wanted a spot-kick as Jamaal Lascelles fell into a challenge on Harry Kane in Newcastle's away win the following week.

Gary Cahill was only shown a yellow card in Crystal Palace's shock victory at Manchester United despite appearing to be the last man as he tugged down Anthony Martial.

Arrigo Sacchi believes the Premier League is enjoying a "golden age" of coaching with Pep Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp and Mauricio Pochettino.

Former AC Milan boss Sacchi, who won the European Cup in 1989 and 1990 with the Rossoneri, is seen as one of football's great innovators, yet he is watching English football with great admiration for the top managers.

Guardiola has guided Manchester City to consecutive Premier League titles, winning a treble last season, while Klopp's Liverpool defeated Pochettino's Tottenham in the 2018-19 Champions League final.

Sacchi told the Daily Mail: "[Guardiola, Klopp and Pochettino are] my favourites and all three have the same philosophical system, even though they are very different.

"England has a crazy, brilliant championship. It is experiencing a golden age."

The Italian, now 73, also drew comparisons between City, Liverpool and his great Milan side.

"Their football is similar to mine and I really appreciate their values, culture and mentality," Sacchi said. "My Milan team innovated, the teams of Guardiola and Klopp continue to innovate.

"They think like me. We have the duty to make the public enjoy football, to be excited by it. Making great football is more difficult than talking about it.

"I like the desire they have to dominate. Football must be domination and beauty, music and culture.

"I enjoy watching them. The problem in the Premier League is that they play too often and there is too much competition. Perhaps this is why the [England] national team never achieves great results."

Mario Balotelli is "very happy" being back in Brescia and can be a real success for his hometown club, according to former team-mate Nigel de Jong.

The enigmatic former Inter, Manchester City and Nice striker returned to Italy in August, signing a multi-year deal with the newly-promoted Serie A side.

Balotelli, 29, spent much of his childhood in the Brescia region and revealed his mother cried when she found out he was signing for the Lombardy outfit.

De Jong played alongside Balotelli at City and AC Milan, and he expects the move home to bring the best out of his friend.

"Of course [he can succeed], he's back in his home town Brescia with his family around him," the former Netherlands international said after Vincent Kompany's testimonial match, which Balotelli attended as a spectator.

"I know him very well, we speak quite often, and he's happy.

"For me, it's important for Mario to be in an environment he's happy with and [where] he's back with his family.

"I think he needs two more weeks before he's really fit and he can play his first game.

"Mario's Mario – the qualities will always be there. We just hope that he can pick up where he left off [in France] and show his qualities for Brescia because they're going to need it this year.

"He is very happy. So we'll see."

De Jong and Balotelli were part of the City outfit which won the Premier League in famous fashion in 2011-12.

Pipping rivals Manchester United paved the way for a sustained period of success, during which the so-called 'noisy neighbours' have secured a further three league titles.

The hard-nosed midfield anchor of Roberto Mancini's side believes the Etihad Stadium has become an attractive destination in the eyes of top players for more reasons than money.

"There are more players coming in and it's due to the fact people will choose Manchester City now over other teams," De Jong said.

"City, back in the day, you had to come in and say, 'Listen, here's the contract, here's the big money, come play for us', instead of watching the whole culture.

"Now [some players would] rather choose Manchester City over Barcelona or Madrid. That is a change, a momentum shift.

"United as well. I think a player would rather choose City at this moment than the other side of town.

"It is what it is, that's football. It shifts. We'll see how it goes."

Manchester City remain favourites to win the Premier League ahead of Liverpool, according to Jamie Carragher.

Liverpool have made a perfect start to the league campaign, winning their opening four matches to hold a two-point lead at the top early in the season.

Jurgen Klopp's men pushed City all the way last season before Pep Guardiola's side defended their title.

Carragher, who won the Champions League during a stellar career at Liverpool, believes City are still favourites.

"I think it's a bit early yet. I think we've got to probably wait until Christmas," he said on Wednesday.

"I do feel around about Christmas time Liverpool and City will have a substantial gap and it looks like there's a little bit of a gap at this moment.

"But I still think City are favourites and are the best team in the Premier League at this moment because they won the Premier League and they proved that last season.

"So I think it's still on Liverpool to overtake City but they're more than capable."

Liverpool (12 points) and Manchester City (10) are ahead of Leicester City (eight) through four games.

Manchester City make the trip to Norwich City on Saturday, while Liverpool host Newcastle United on the same day.

Gareth Southgate has welcomed Raheem Sterling becoming a star player for England and hailed the forward's increasing influence on and off the pitch.

Sterling initially struggled to turn his club form for Manchester City into high-level performances for the Three Lions, regularly facing strong criticism over his performances.

He branded himself "The Hated One" in a post on social media while enduring a difficult time during England's unsuccessful Euro 2016 campaign.

Since then, however, Sterling has grown to play a key role for England with a stunning run of eight goals in his past eight appearances demonstrating his importance for Southgate's side.

Sterling equalised in Tuesday's 5-3 Euro 2020 qualifying win over Kosovo and created a further three goals, including providing assists for both of Jadon Sancho's maiden international goals.

The attacker has also become a social figurehead, drawing praise for speaking out over racism and going viral for his interactions with supporters, with manager Southgate delighted to have a front-row seat to Sterling's continued rise to superstardom.

"For me, it's lovely to see the shift in the public opinion of him," Southgate said of the 24-year-old.

"That's still a brave thing to decide that: 'Right, I'm going to own that space and I'm going to put my own views across'. But those views represent many as well, so I think he's aware of the power of his voice, but he also doesn't waste it.

"I think he was very forthright in his social media posts [about racism]. I think he raised everybody's awareness and made us all think, which was very mature and impressive. And, at the same time, he rose to the challenge with his club, with new signings coming in.

"You know, when you are at a club like that, to keep fighting off the quality of players that he has; and straight away with us, got the goals in Spain - first game after the World Cup for him, really. Croatia away, Spain. I think it was such a huge weight lifted for him, he almost jumped six foot in the stadium, didn't he? 

"So I think from that moment - because he did come home a bit sad after the World Cup, there's no hiding from that. He didn't deserve to feel that way, but that's as he was, so it's lovely to see the recognition he's getting and how much extra I think that's bringing out of him.

"If there are things that he thinks can be better with the mentality of the players or the way that we've set the week out, he'll thoughtfully put ideas across; he doesn't just sit and complain.

"But then you see his interaction with the players. I noticed, over the last 24 hours especially [prior to facing Kosovo], he spent a lot of time with Jadon, I think that was probably quite a comfort.

"He can pass things on that I can speak [about] as the coach, but there'll be more depth to that if your fellow winger who has been at the same club as you, and has been through what you’re going to go through can talk to you. I think that's far more powerful. You can't quantify what that will have meant for Jadon."

Asked how Sterling will have felt to have been made a scapegoat earlier in his international career, Southgate said: "Difficult for me to say. I can only imagine. Everyone wants to be liked, don't they?

"Everybody, players give their all. He's a player that has always given his all… You know how much it means to him, how much he wants to do well.

"So, I think it's for him to reflect on how he might have felt then and, for me, it's just lovely to see a young man establishing himself, at the real top table in the game."

Southgate indicated he also sees an England future for Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham, who qualifies to play for Nigeria in addition to the Three Lions.

"Tammy is a young player that we’ve always liked, we know he'll score goals," he said. "We felt it was a bit early this time to call him up, but we really can see that he can offer us something moving forward.

"We gave him a cap back in November of 2017. For sure, we need to make certain that he feels that the opportunity is going to be there. I'm pretty sure he does, he knows us well enough."

A packed Etihad Stadium paid a warm tribute to Vincent Kompany on Wednesday as his Manchester City Legends played out a 2-2 draw against a Premier League All Stars XI.

The four-time Premier League winner saw the funny side of a hamstring strain keeping him out of his own testimonial, the new day job as player-coach of Anderlecht meaning he could not risk lining up alongside an array of past team-mates.

"For me not to play this game because of an injury… surely the irony has not escaped anyone?" Kompany chuckled before the match – his 11-year stint as an inspirational and decorated captain at City having been frequently peppered with injury lay-offs.

Given a guard of honour onto the field before kick-off, the man of the hour was serenaded by the masses and embraced by fellow club greats Colin Bell, Mike Summerbee and Tony Book.

He then gave way to those fit enough to take part, and there was much to enjoy as plenty of famous faces came together to raise money for Kompany's Tackle4MCR homelessness charity.

Painful night for Neville

Gary Neville's work as a property developer is already well noted in Manchester. The former United and England right-back probably didn't need to labour the point by granting Martin Petrov his own postcode for the opening goal. Jamie Carragher blamed his defensive colleague, Neville disagreed and the debate will probably continue in Sky Sports' Monday Night Football studio.

Neville willingly played the pantomime villain, even taking a corner to soak up boos before pinging a hamstring and departing before half-time.

Dad's Army stands firm

Okay, so it might have only been for 27 minutes in a friendly, but Neville, Carragher, Michael Carrick and Ashley Cole became the first defensive unit to stop Sergio Aguero scoring this season. Somewhere, Sven-Goran Eriksson was beaming with pride.

Where's Mario?

Aguero would have loved the chance to renew his old strike partnership with Mario Balotelli. However, speaking earlier on Wednesday, Kompany foresaw problems. "I think Mario is coming, he should be," he said. "But with Mario everything can go wrong."

Balotelli did indeed turn up, resplendent in a black hoodie, sunglasses and a studded baseball cap. However, he did not warm up and City supporters chanting for his introduction did so in vain – Benjani handily distracting them with a gleefully received equaliser.

Apparently, the Italy striker's new club Brescia had no idea he was in Manchester and he has training at 9am on Thursday. Never change, Mario.

Still got it

Paul Scholes ran through the repertoire. The Manchester United great hacked repeatedly to bring Samir Nasri down during the first-half, while he followed a delightful outside-of-the-foot pass with a deft scoop shortly after the interval. Carpet slippers in possession, hobnail boots out of it.

Nigel de Jong showed the slide tackle remains his preferred method of navigating a football pitch and Stephen Ireland – arguably the great "what if…" of City's Abu Dhabi era produced some silky moments. Robin van Persie put the All Stars ahead with aplomb.

They were all arguably outshone by Petrov, who looks somewhere close to his fighting weight five-and-a-half years since last turning out professionally for CSKA Sofia. There remained too much of a turn of pace for Neville and Carragher, while the left foot that rifled the opener into the roof of the net is still an absolute wand.

Lads, it's for charity!

For a moment, Robbie Keane seemed disgruntled by De Jong giving him a flashback to LA Galaxy's training pitches circa 2016, but the only time the friendly atmosphere truly threatened the fray was when Nicky Butt renewed acquaintances with Craig Bellamy.

Butt clattered through the back of his fellow shrinking violet, who seemed keen to prolong the argument.

End of an era

The biggest roar during the early stages came when Pablo Zabaleta performed an inch-perfect tackle on Cole. The sight of the talismanic Argentinian lining up with De Jong, Joe Hart, Joleon Lescott and the rest once again underlined how much road has been travelled since City's first Premier League title in 2011-12.

Pep Guardiola's slick winning machine is obviously adored in these parts, but it is clear how much that first flush of success – when everything seemed possible, but Carlos Tevez went on strike and Balotelli hosted pre-match fireworks displays in his bathroom – will always mean.

That Kompany, indomitable and in the form of his life, held it all together goes a long way to explaining the enduring affection he enjoys.

Vincent Kompany is to be honoured with a sculpture outside the Etihad Stadium, Manchester City have announced.

Kompany left at the end of the 2018-19 season, having led City to a domestic treble, to take up a player-manager role at his first club, Anderlecht.

The former captain is back in Manchester for his testimonial match this week, although a hamstring injury has ruled him out of being able to play in Wednesday's fixture.

City have revealed Kompany's contribution to the club will be recognised with a sculpture, while a road at their training centre has also been renamed Vincent Kompany Crescent.

"It is an incredible honour to be recognised by this special club in this way," Kompany told City's official website.

"The journey that we went on together throughout my 11 years in Manchester changed my life and I am delighted to have played my small part in altering the course of this club's history during that time.

"To establish a permanent, physical connection with a place that will forever mean so much to me is truly humbling and I will always be grateful to [owner] Sheikh Mansour, [chairman] Khaldoon Al Mubarak and all those associated with City for their unwavering support and kindness."

Kompany, who won four Premier Leagues with City as well as four EFL Cups and two FA Cups during his 11 years in Manchester, has also been immortalised in a mosaic.

The image, placed above the sign for Vincent Kompany Crescent, depicts his celebration after he scored the only goal in the crucial 1-0 win over Manchester United in 2012 that helped City win their first Premier League title.

"Vincent is a special figure in the history of Manchester City Football Club," added Al Mubarak. "He is not only an inspirational and resolute leader on the pitch, but an impeccable and articulate ambassador off it.

"His contribution will be remembered for generations to come, by supporters of our club and the wider football community who rightly recognise Vincent as one of the iconic Premier League figures of his generation."

Virgil van Dijk has a claim of being the best centre-back in Premier League history, according to former Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany.

Van Dijk was named UEFA Men's Player of the Year last month and the Liverpool defender is firmly in Ballon d'Or contention after inspiring Jurgen Klopp's team to Champions League glory last season.

Liverpool and Van Dijk missed out to City by a point in an unrelenting Premier League title race in 2018-19 that ended with Kompany lifting the trophy for the fourth time in his career.

Now in the early stages of his tenure as player-manager at Anderlecht, Kompany is back in Manchester for his testimonial at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday – a match where the proceeds will go to his Tackle4MCR charity that aims to address the problem of homelessness in the city.

Somewhat fittingly and unfortunately, the frequently injury-ravaged 33-year-old will not be able to feature for a Manchester City All-Stars XI against his Premier League All-Stars due to a hamstring strain.

When discussing where he stood among the Premier League's finest central defenders, Kompany said such setbacks – calf strains were a persistent feature of his 11 years in east Manchester – meant he was fighting a losing battle against some of the greats.

"I never try to put me in any of these categories because these guys have been consistently at the top of their powers," he told a pre-match news conference.

"My journey was completely different. I've never been able to deal with the same tools. I've had a lot of injuries, a lot of comebacks.

"For me not to play this game because of an injury… surely the irony has not escaped anyone?

"That's been my journey at City; that's how they know me. I was always fighting my own battles. I could never compete with anybody else because I could not get the volume of games, but I was able to be substantial for my team and that's the only thing that mattered to me."

Although he was drawn to credit some of his contemporaries from earlier in the decade, Kompany cannot help but be impressed by Van Dijk's prowess.

"I go back to players that really impressed me when I played against them, central defenders [but] I would bring it back to Virgil van Dijk," he said.

"It's a weird one because he hasn't been on the scene for as long as John Terry, Rio Ferdinand – these guys were there for a long, long time - but the signs he showed in the last few years make it obvious that if he had been at the top level for longer, he would be further as well.

"Being a defender is how you make your team more solid. The Liverpool before Van Dijk and after, it is a completely different set-up. I'll give him that [accolade] because of that."

Aymeric Laporte looked primed to assume Kompany's mantle of being City's defensive lynchpin but a knee injury means the France international is facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

It leaves Pep Guardiola short of senior centre-backs after deciding not to replace Kompany, but the ex-skipper believes there is no undue cause for concern.

"Losing Laporte, you lose a big player," he added. "You need them in the bigger games so that's where we'll see [if it has an impact].

"But the key strength of this Manchester City team and what Pep has been able to do is that it is relying more on the system than the individuals.

"If you go back through the last two years, in which the team won five of the available six domestic trophies, they've had to deal with long spells of Fernandinho out, long spells of Kevin De Bruyne out, long spells of myself being out.

"Sergio Aguero as well – big players – and the team has never seemed to collapse."

Vincent Kompany has revealed he will not play in his own Manchester City testimonial due to a hamstring injury.

Former City captain Kompany is returning to the Etihad Stadium for the first time since his departure at the end of last season, yet he will not feature in the match between Manchester City Legends and a Premier League All-Stars XI.

The 33-year-old, who has endured a tough start to life as Anderlecht player-coach, has not featured since hobbling out of a 1-0 defeat to Genk on August 23.

Kompany, who repeatedly suffered with injuries at City, last playing more than 30 Premier League games in a season in 2011-12, announced his absence from Wednesday's fixture in good humour.

"Unfortunately I won't be starting or playing," the Belgian told a news conference on the day of the match. "It's typical of me, right? I'm usually there for the end of the season...

"I've got a slight hamstring injury so I couldn't unfortunately risk it tonight.

"To say goodbyes doesn't necessarily have to be on the pitch, as such, and we're doing it for an unbelievable cause [Tackle4MCR, an initiative Kompany set up to help the homeless]."

With David Silva, Kompany's replacement as captain, leaving at the end of the season, he added: "I'll be there for David Silva's testimonial."

Raheem Sterling acknowledges he cannot be compared to Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo until he has performed at the highest level for a number of seasons, but that is his aim.

The Manchester City forward was in irrepressible form in England's 5-3 win against Kosovo on Tuesday, scoring an early equaliser and then laying on three assists in a stunning first-half display.

Sterling's performance continued an outstanding start to the new season, with eight goals to his name for club and country already.

The 24-year-old scored 35 times in the Premier League across the previous two campaigns, but he concedes he is still some way short of the standard set by all-time greats Messi and Ronaldo.

"The most remarkable thing about these players is not that they've been doing it for two or three seasons," said Sterling. "They've been doing it for pretty much their whole career, season after season.

"This is my third season at a high level, I would say, and I just have to keep continuing. I have full belief in myself.

"I have goals and they've been goals of mine since I was a child, and I'll keep thriving and keep learning and try to get all the way to the top, for sure."

Sterling had scored just twice for his country prior to visiting Spain last October but doubled his international tally with a brace in that away win and now has 10 goals in England colours.

"When I first put on the England shirt, I wasn't looking at my stats too much," he said. "It wasn't until I saw how bad they were I put extra pressure on myself to score.

"But I said to myself that once my first goal goes in, I know that the goals will come after that. That's all I was waiting for.

"That night in Spain when I scored two, from then I knew I'd kick on and keep scoring goals."

Kevin De Bruyne has revealed he plans to join former Manchester City team-mate Vincent Kompany at Anderlecht.

Kompany left City at the end of the 2018-19 season, in which he led them to a domestic clean sweep, to take up a player-manager role in his native Belgium.

He has endured a stumbling start to life back at Anderlecht, though, and has already stepped back from managerial duties on matchdays.

De Bruyne has backed his compatriot to turn things around, however, with the City playmaker even offering to join Kompany's squad in the future.

"I hope his career will be just as amazing at Anderlecht as it was at City," De Bruyne told The Sun of international colleague Kompany.

"I've told him to keep a place in his team for me in a year, or seven, when I'm finished here [at City].

"If he does do that for me I will already have my next destination lined up; my next job.

"I will definitely miss him being around City."

Kompany's testimonial will be played at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday.

And De Bruyne gave an insight into the role played by Kompany in his decision to join City.

"At the time City were trying to sign me from Wolfsburg and Vinny was pushing for me to move to Manchester to play alongside him," De Bruyne added.

"He would constantly ask me when I was coming. He would say 'you need to come', constantly encouraging me to join City."

Christian Eriksen – the name that will not go away, even with the transfer window closed.

Eriksen wanted to leave Tottenham for a new challenge as Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Juventus and Inter reportedly circled.

A move did not materialise, much to his disappointment, but a transfer could be on the horizon.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID LOOK TO ERIKSEN AMID POGBA DOUBTS

Sky Sports News claims Real Madrid will make a move for Tottenham star Christian Eriksen at the end of the season if Paul Pogba extends his Manchester United deal.

Zinedine Zidane has made no secret of his desire to reinforce his midfield, with Tottenham's Eriksen, Pogba and Ajax sensation Donny van de Beek linked to the Santiago Bernabeu.

While Los Blancos remain keen on Pogba, they are eyeing a move for Eriksen – whose contract expires at the end of the campaign.

 

ROUND-UP:

- According to Tuttosport, Paris Saint-Germain and Tottenham are set to go head-to-head for Juventus attacker Paulo Dybala in January. Both clubs were reportedly interested in signing Dybala prior to the transfer deadline, and with Dybala set to struggle for regular game time PSG and Spurs are poised to fight it out.

- Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea is close to finally signing a new £290,000-a-week contract at Old Trafford, claims The Guardian.

Inter are keeping tabs on Borussia Dortmund attacker Mario Gotze, says Welt. Gotze is out of contract at the end of the season and negotiations over a new deal are reportedly not progressing.

- The Serie A side, meanwhile, will not sell star defender Milan Skriniar in January. That is according to Tuttosport amid growing speculation Manchester City are targeting the Inter centre-back.

- According to Sky Sports News, Wolves are still interested in signing AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie. Wolves tried to prise Kessie from Milan before the transfer window shut, but the 22-year-old knocked back the move.

Arsenal could make another attempt to sign Belgium international Yannick Carrasco from Chinese Super League side Dalian Yifang, reports The Sun. The Gunners have long been linked with Carrasco and Dalian's supposed interest in Napoli star Dries Mertens could make a deal possible.

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