Pep Guardiola will take the mental health of his international stars into consideration as Manchester City prepare for a quick turnaround into the new season.

The Premier League champions went down to a 1-0 Community Shield defeat against Leicester City on Saturday, their former striker Kelechi Iheanacho coming off the bench to win and convert a late penalty at Wembley.

Guardiola remained without Raheem Sterling, Phil Foden, Kyle Walker, John Stones, Ederson and Gabriel Jesus after their respective runs to the finals of Euro 2020 and the Copa America with England and Brazil.

The sextet will return to training on Monday, while Kevin De Bruyne is still on the mend after an ankle injury sustained during Belgium's progress to the quarter-finals of the European Championship.

Aymeric Laporte – a Euros semi-finalist with Spain – must self-isolate until the middle of next week because a passenger on his flight back to the United Kingdom after a vacation tested positive for COVID-19. The defender has tested negative.

It adds up to a far-from-ideal preparation for next weekend's league opener at Tottenham, a fixture likely to be lent a tempestuous edge by City's pursuit of Harry Kane.

Nevertheless, Guardiola knows a return to peak physical fitness will come in time, even though he again took aim at scheduling arrangements by UEFA and FIFA in his post-match comments at Wembley.

The former Barcelona boss is more concerned about the mental strain endured by players who have been on a near non-stop schedule since returning to action from the coronavirus lockdown last June.

Asked whether his England players would benefit from being afforded an extra week of rest, he replied: "It depends on their heads. They have to rest and now they can be ready, but it depends on here [the head].

On whether his returning internationals would be ready to play at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Guardiola replied: "A few players get the condition so quick, others need a little more time. We will see the weight, the body fat, how they arrive. And especially their heads.

"There are players who play three, four or five days and their mentality is positive and they are ready to fight and suffer in the bad conditions. Some of them take a little more time.

"We will try to discover which ones are ready immediately."

Foden is unlikely to be among that group, given he must still recover from the foot injury that ruled him out of England's penalty shoot-out loss to Italy.

Stones was an ever-present at centre-back for Gareth Southgate's side, while Sterling and Walker were each named in the UEFA Team of the Tournament.

"All of them, they played really well. I'm glad and happy for them. They have had many years together," Guardiola said.

"They made an incredible achievement. When you achieve a final in the Euro it's a big, big thing.

"They have to be so proud of what they have done with the national team. The benefits to the confidence will be there.

"But the past is the past. What you have done with the national team is for the memories. The challenge is ahead of us to do a good season."

Brendan Rodgers has announced Wesley Fofana will not play again until 2022 after sustaining a medial ligament injury in a pre-season friendly against Villarreal.

Fofana was carried off on a stretcher on Wednesday after a tackle from Fer Nino injured his left leg, with the centre-back later revealing on Instagram he had fractured his fibula.

The France Under-21 international is expected to undergo surgery on Monday, though the extent of the damage is worse than initially feared.

Following Leicester City's 1-0 Community Shield triumph against Manchester City at Wembley Stadium, Rodgers provided a further update on Fofana.

"He has his operation on Monday and he won't play until 2022," the Leicester boss said in his post-match news conference. "At what point that will be we'll have to assess over the next six months or so.

"He's an incredible talent. He's in really good spirits. He'll be back in the training ground on Thursday or Friday next week and will begin his rehab then.”

Fofana became an integral part of Rodgers' team following his arrival from Saint-Etienne.

Out of all Premier League defenders, Fofana was just one of two to attempt at least 50 tackles, complete 50 interceptions and produce 50 headed clearances – Aston Villa's Matt Targett being the other.

"It's such a shame for the Premier League not to have a talent like that and certainly for us as well," Rodgers continued after Kelechi Iheanacho's late penalty had defeated the reigning Premier League champions.

Asked for clarification as to whether the defender had broken his leg, Rodgers responded: "In and around his medial ligament there was a lot more damage than we had hoped, quite substantial damage unfortunately."

While Leicester will be without Fofana for the remainder of the year, they will be buoyed on by the return of Harvey Barnes.

Barnes, who scored nine goals and provided four assists in 25 top-flight fixtures last term, suffered a setback in April with a knee injury ruling him out of the remainder of the season and subsequently contention for England's Euro 2020 squad.

"Unfortunately, I had to watch the amazing scenes [in the FA Cup final]," the 23-year-old told ITV after Saturday's win. "This time, to be on the pitch and be a part of it was amazing.

"I don’t think we approached it as a friendly. It’s a chance to win some more silverware – and something we’ve not won before. We knew it was a great opportunity to win something before the season started, so we’re over the moon with it.

"It’s obviously been a tough few months for me. It’s amazing to be back out there now. This is the first competitive game I’ve played in and for the fans to be back in at Wembley was special. I’m feeling really good and looking forward to the season now."

Jack Grealish's Wembley cameo impressed Pep Guardiola and the Manchester City manager is in bullish mood for the new season despite a 1-0 Community Shield defeat to Leicester City.

British record signing Grealish appeared as a second-half substitute in the traditional English curtain raiser, but Kelechi Iheanacho came off the bench to win and convert a late penalty against his former club.

Back at the stadium where he was the focus of adoration during England's Euro 2020 campaign, £100million man Grealish was rapturously received by the Manchester contingent, but the Leicester fans jeered his every involvement.

That amounted to a tidy 15 of 16 passes completed, including one chance created for fellow substitute Ben Knight, with 25 touches overall and seven duels contested in 25 minutes on the field.

"I saw many incredibly good things today. I don’t feel we played badly. I said to all the guys how proud I am," Guardiola told a post-match news conference.

"But in this business, you must win. And when you don't, congratulate the opponent.

"Jack was really good – aggressive, going against full-backs. Every time he had the ball he had three players [drawn towards him].

"We will find the tempo, he will know his mates, we will know him and, step by step, we will find our best.

"I know he is a lovely guy so he will adapt quickly.

"He didn't come to play 25 minutes, he came to play five or six years, that's why we will be incredibly patient like we will be for all new players every time they come."

 

Guardiola reserved praise for teenagers Cole Palmer and Sam Edozie, who were rewarded with starts after impressive pre-season showings in the absence of a host of international stars including Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling, Phil Foden and Gabriel Jesus.

Winger Edozie scored three goals in three friendlies, only to shank a clear first-half opening against Leicester. However, Guardiola felt the 18-year-old's response spoke volumes.

"What I like from them is they lost one or two balls and then the next one, try again and try again," he said.

"Cole was exceptional all game. In the first half [Ricardo] Pereira won the duels with Sam but second half he was incredibly aggressive.

"Since minute one in the second half, Sam took the ball and was aggressive

"Unfortunately, we missed some chances and did not create much up front, but the game was there."

Guardiola again bemoaned a schedule that has denied him much time on the training ground with key stars, but he is confident City can deliver as they pursue a fourth Premier League in five seasons.

"Mentally, yeah, of course I'm ready. But how can we be ready when some of the players have three or four training sessions?" he added.

"We have to adapt, adapt and adapt. We did last season when we started a little bit flat. After a while we were there and started to win.

"After what I saw today, I am incredibly confident that many good things are going to happen this season."

A tight game at Wembley in the English summer of 2021 and a spot of clock-watching and bench-watching to see whether Jack Grealish might come on. It's basically become a national past time.

Of course, this was the more sedate setting of the Community Shield between Leicester City and Manchester City, whose freshly minted £100million man was among the substitutes, and not the febrile passion pit of a push for Euro 2020 glory. More the sort of occasion that might cause you to happily wave a sparkler around rather than stick a flare somewhere unmentionable.

Not that the men on the touchline were taking this lightly. Pep Guardiola, fairly remarkably, managed to get booked as he did during the 2019 version of this fixture. He disagreed volubly after referee Paul Tierney penalised Cole Palmer for an aerial challenge on Leicester full-back Ryan Bertrand.

Shortly afterwards, Brendan Rodgers responded to a botched Kasper Schmeichel clearance by booting a water bottle towards the grey London sky.

Grealish had been merrily volleying balls around with his new team-mates during the warm-up, which he closed by thundering a 40-yard strike just over the top corner before being the last player off with an arm around City youth-team captain Tommy Doyle.

The price-tag certainly isn't weighing too heavily right now for a man who looks as if he lacks a single care in the world, even if his public approval ratings have taken a hit.

 

Wembley laid on universal adoration for Grealish and his velvet touches while playing for Gareth Southgate's England. Here, the booing from the Leicester end felt a little more edgy than pantomime when the ex-Aston Villa captain appeared on the big screen before kick-off and again when he sauntered into a gentle jog and some stretches early in the second period.

By that stage, a Leicester side close to full-strength – although lacking Wesley Fofana after the broken leg he suffered on the end of an awful tackle from Villarreal's Fer Nino in midweek – had enjoyed the edge in terms of clear chances. Zack Steffen made two close-range saves, the second particularly excellent, to deny Jamie Vardy, who played with his typical verve.

As the hour passed, it was certainly a contest worthy of Guardiola and Rodgers' investment. Teenage winger Sam Edozie grew into the match for the Premier League champions, buoyed by three goals in three pre-season outings. Ilkay Gundogan slashed off target inside a crowded penalty area, as did Riyad Mahrez when through on goal, naturally to much brouhaha in the Leicester end.

Then, in the 64th minute, some activity on the bench. Grealish thumbed through a tactics clipboard far less weighty than any encyclopaedia, threw on his white match shirt and joined Rodri on the touchline. The Manchester contingent roared and further barracking followed from the other end of the stadium.

 

With his first involvement, English football's former unity candidate dribbled easily past Ayoze Perez and laid off to Rodri. A few seconds later he was down the left flank and won a throw in a dangerous position, before a Palmer pass allowed him to advance into the Leicester area, where he was crowded out.

In the 70th minute, Grealish returned the favour with a delicious outside-of-the-foot pass, although Youri Tielemans was back to thwart the youngster. It demonstrated the space that was being opened up by two opposition players going towards the British record signing every time he collected the ball. The damage the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and Phil Foden might do in such conditions when they return is a chilling prospect for the rest of the league.

Bernardo Silva was rapturously welcomed for potentially a farewell City appearance and the midfielder's introduction allowed Grealish to rove – a pirouetting dribble in-field ended with him tumbling to the turf and left Tierney unimpressed.

The official had a simple call when he pointed to the spot in the 87th minute. Nathan Ake blotted a solid afternoon's work by bundling Kelechi Iheanacho over and the former City striker thumped his spot-kick past the impressive Steffen.

Wembley fate sealed from 12 yards as you watch on. The more things change, eh Jack?

Substitute Kelechi Iheanacho was the hero as his late penalty gave Leicester City a 1-0 victory over Manchester City in the Community Shield.

The former City striker, who departed the Etihad Stadium four years ago, settled a generally lacklustre curtain-raiser to the new domestic season at Wembley.

Iheanacho came off the bench in the 79th minute and was brought down by Nathan Ake in the closing minutes.

The Nigerian international, who scored 19 goals for the Foxes last term, calmly slotted the ball beyond goalkeeper Zack Steffen from 12 yards out to give the FA Cup winners the spoils.

Jack Grealish could make his Manchester City debut from the bench in Saturday's Community Shield at Wembley and the British record signing could have a key role to play over the opening weeks of the season with Phil Foden and Kevin De Bruyne still sidelined.

Grealish completed his £100million switch from Aston Villa to Premier League champions City on Thursday.

The 25-year-old playmaker's Wembley cameos from the bench became one of the most anticipated features of England's run to the Euro 2020 final and he will resume that role at the national stadium this weekend, having only returned to training from a post-tournament break this week.

"He's not ready to start at all, he was one week training alone but he'll travel with us to settle with the team and he will be on the bench and we’ll see what happens," Guardiola said.

"After we'll see what happens but from the beginning, no way."

Next weekend's Premier League opener against Tottenham, which is set to be played out against the backdrop of City's pursuit of Spurs striker Harry Kane, might be a different matter, given Foden and De Bruyne are still nursing respective foot and ankle complaints following their European Championship exploits.

"Phil Foden will still be out for a while. He had a tough injury with the national team in the last few days [of Euro 2020] and unfortunately could not play the final," Guardiola said.

"You have to be careful with this injury because if we don't [take precautions] it will be longer.

"Kevin still is out. I think he will come back a little bit sooner or quicker than Phil apparently but both still out for a while."

De Bruyne was named PFA Players' Player of the Year for the second successive season as City regained the Premier League and retained the EFL Cup in 2020-21, which they concluded with a 1-0 Champions League final defeat to Chelsea.

The Belgium superstar, who penned a long-term contract extension running until 2025 in May, scored six goals and supplied 12 Premier League assists. Those came from 80 chances created, 19 of which were classed as "big chances" by Opta.

Joao Cancelo crafted the next most opportunities in City's squad with 45, meaning Grealish (81 chances created, 14 big chances, 10 assists in the Premier League in 2020-21) could instantly have a critical role to play in De Bruyne's absence.

Grealish has frequently voiced his admiration for the 30-year-old and Guardiola is in a similar position when it comes to a player he has long coveted.

"The first time I saw him playing," he replied when asked for the moment he decided he wanted to sign Grealish, noting the attacking midfielder's ability to control the tempo of the play – a quality Guardiola has frequently described as being vital in his teams.

"But then it wasn't possible, you have the squad and we had to invest in other parts as those parts were weaker. But especially when I saw him on TV.

"I said, 'that guy controls the tempo'. I love when he has the ball, he stops before the dribble and all the opponents stop as well. He controls the tempo and rhythm, when he accelerates and decelerates the action.

"And then especially when [City] played against him - the physicality, the special mentality of how he fought against the opponents, against our players. He said, 'I'm here'.

"Especially Txiki [Begiristain, City's director of football]. Txiki was completely in love with him and that's why we decided to try."

From Saturday onwards, Grealish will begin the work of trying make City's fans fall similarly head over heels.

Pep Guardiola insists Lionel Messi is not part of Manchester City's transfer plans after the six-time Ballon d'Or winner's sensational exit from Barcelona.

Messi was widely expected to sign a new deal at Camp Nou this week, to prolong a career-long association with Barca after his previous terms expired in June.

However, the club issued a statement on Thursday stating "financial and structural obstacles" – relating to both the Blaugrana's parlous financial state and LaLiga's strict economic controls – prevented Messi from signing a contract to which he had already agreed.

City were widely understood to be Messi's preferred destination when he attempted to leave Barcelona 12 months ago, but Paris Saint-Germain are viewed as the frontrunners this time around.

That impression was only heightened after Guardiola ruled out a reunion with his former protege, insisting City would proceed with the transfer plans that saw £100million man Jack Grealish become their record signing on Thursday.

"We have spent £40m on Jack Grealish - 100 we pay and 60 we won last year." Guardiola said, in one of several reference to the £60m boost his transfer kitty has received from City selling academy and loan players.

"He'll have the number 10 because we were incredibly convinced with Jack Grealish and were convinced that Leo would continue at Barcelona.

"Right now [signing Messi] is not in our thoughts, absolutely not."

Messi ascended to his place at the top of world football under Guardiola's guidance between 2008 and 2012, winning LaLiga on three occasions and the Champions League twice among a host of honours.

"It was a surprise for everyone, me included. President [Joan] Laporta was clear on the reason why," said Guardiola, who was speaking ahead of Saturday's Community Shield meeting with Leicester City at Wembley.

"They'd both like to continue. When you have €487m losses in one year the decision is made, unfortunately.

"As a supporter I'd love to him to have finished there but the club is not sustainable. What's happened is not good there and that's why they arrived in those terms [of Messi leaving].

"As a fan, incredible gratitude for the most extraordinary player I've ever seen in my life. Much more than for the titles he won for Barcelona, for what he did for me, to help me to become a better manager, to go to Munich and England.

"We won a lot, more than that is the incredible about of emotions and feelings to be in front of the TV watching what he can do with the ball with his mates in one football game. Day by day, game by game he did something unique."

As it stands, Messi's final appearance in a Barcelona shirt will be a 2-1 home loss to Celta Vigo as LaLiga slipped away last season.

Guardiola hopes a more fitting goodbye can be arranged.

"Hopefully one day we can properly have the best farewell game ever, because he deserves it," he added. "His contribution helped to take this club to another level, to dominate the world during a decade."

Brendan Rodgers is confident James Maddison will remain a Leicester City player, despite speculation linking him with Arsenal.

Having already brought in Ben White and Albert Sambi Lokonga, Arsenal are rumoured to be interested in the Leicester midfielder, though Rodgers dismissed those reports on Thursday.

Leicester, who are preparing for the Community Shield on Saturday, won the FA Cup last season before falling at the final hurdle for Champions League qualification, with Maddison playing an integral role.

"Yes, I believe so," Rodgers said when asked whether Maddison would remain at the King Power Stadium. "I haven't been told anything to say he won't be.

"He's happy in training, he's working very hard and he's just recently become a father so he has responsibility off the pitch as well.

"There's obviously gossip and speculation that goes around, especially this time of year, but James is a very important member of our squad.

"He's a very talented player. His season was disrupted last year by injury but hopefully this season he can go and show what a top player he is.”

Maddison, whose 13 goal involvements in 31 games last term represented his best return in the Premier League, led Leicester's charts for chances created with 51, despite playing seven games fewer than second-placed Youri Tielemans.

The England midfielder's 788 passes inside the opposition half were the second most among Rodgers' players, yet Maddison still ranked fourth with 81.22 per cent of those balls finding a team-mate.

While Rodgers will have reason to celebrate if he can keep a hold of playmaker Maddison, Wednesday's friendly against Villarreal led to concerning issues at the back.

Wesley Fofana, who was just one of two defenders to attempt at least 50 tackles, make 50 interceptions and produce 50 headed clearances last season, suffered a broken leg against the LaLiga outfit, leaving Leicester short for centre-backs.

Rodgers admitted he was "not overly happy with the way the game was officiated" and concluded it was "disappointing for something like that to happen in a pre-season friendly".

Already without the injured Jonny Evans, Leicester have just Caglar Soyuncu left as a first-choice centre-half and could be forced to push Wilfred Ndidi back into defence for Saturday's clash with Manchester City.

Rodgers now faces a race against the clock to fill the defensive void as he noted the shock 2015-16 Premier League winners are "definitely light in that area."

Pep Guardiola conceded Manchester City will have to play the Community Shield with an inexperienced side as much of his senior squad rests following the rigours of last season and Euro 2020.

City started their pre-season preparations with a 2-0 win over Preston North End on Tuesday.

Guardiola fielded Joao Cancelo, Nathan Ake, Ruben Dias and Benjamin Mendy in defence in front of young American goalkeeper Zack Steffen, while Fernandinho and Riyad Mahrez were the only other fully fledged first-team players to feature.

City reclaimed the Premier League title from Liverpool last season while also winning the EFL Cup and reaching the final of the Champions League, where they lost to Chelsea, in a tightly packed campaign that followed swiftly on from the end of the delayed 2019-20 season.

With much of his team then featuring in the European Championship, Guardiola has found himself bereft of options as he plots a defence of the league title and another assault on the one prize that continues to elude City.

They will now welcome Barnsley to their Academy Stadium on Saturday in the last warm-up before the Community Shield against Leicester City at Wembley on August 7.

Speaking to the club's official website after the win over Preston, Guardiola said: "We have to adapt with just three or four players from the first team, every week is coming players, hopefully they come back and they can train.

"I know we don't have time because in 10, 11, 12 days we have the Community Shield with just three players but we're going to play with the players [from the] second team and we're going to try.

"Every season is so tough so the mending is important, we need rest, mentally.

"The managers and the backroom staff we have time but the players were in the European cup, they didn't have time, that's why they have to rest three or four weeks."

The FA have confirmed the date for the Community Shield, with the traditional English football season curtain-raiser to be played at Wembley on August 7.

Premier League champions Manchester City will take on FA Cup winners Leicester City, a week ahead of the 2021-22 top-flight campaign starting, with the match kicking off at 17:00 BST.

Arsenal beat Liverpool in the 2020 Community Shield, which was played in late August due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the footballing calendar. 

Prior to the Gunners' triumph, City had won the trophy in 2018 and 2019.

It will be Leicester's third appearance in a Community Shield match, having won the honour in 1971 – which they qualified for as champions of the second division – and lost to Manchester United in 2016.

While City cruised to their third league title in the space of four seasons in 2020-21, Leicester overcame eventual Champions League winners Chelsea to clinch their first FA Cup success.

In the two league meetings between City and Leicester last season, the Foxes won 5-2 at the Etihad Stadium, before Guardiola's men ran out 2-0 victors in the reverse fixture in April.

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