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Haaland Had a Few Niggles, Explains Man City Boss

Questions Raised As Norwegian Star Misses Pre-Season Friendly

Manchester City v Club America - Pre-season friendly Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Pep Guardiola has explained why new signing Erling Haaland didn’t feature in Manchester City’s opening pre-season game against Club America. The blues won 2-1 in Texas, thanks to a brace from Kevin de Bruyne, but the eagerly awaited first appearance of the Norwegian star didn’t happen.

But Guardiola played down any rumours of injury, explained that Haaland has trained just twice since his arrival, but stated that the big striker should feature in the next warm-up match. “Next game, Erling will be ready,” the manager stated. “He’s had niggles and a few problems. He’s trained just two sessions and didn’t want to take risks. The season is so long.”

Fans will have to wait until the early hours of Sunday morning to hopefully get their first look at Haaland in City colours. The blues take on German champions Bayern Munich, before facing Liverpool in the Community Shield at Wembley a week later.

The blues then travel to West Ham for their opening Premier League fixture. The season starts early due to the World Cup being held in Qatar, which doesn’t start until November.

De Bruyne Dazzles in the States

The night belonged to Kevin de Bruyne as the blues won their opening pre-season match. The midfielder rifled in from the edge of the penalty area and, despite a Club America equaliser, the Belgian fired home the winner on the stroke of half-time.

Both goals were well taken, particularly the second as de Bruyne latched onto a through ball from Riyad Mahrez, before taking a touch and firing home through the legs of the keeper. New signings Kalvin Phillips, Stefen Ortega and Julian Alvarez all made their debuts. Phillips played as centre-back after coming on in the second half, as the blues kept the home side at bay.