December 7, 2021

Dias could make Man City debut against Leeds as Guardiola prepares to make late decision

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Pep Guardiola still to decide whether to throw the Portugal international into starting line-up for the tough trip to Elland Road on Saturday

Pep Guardiola has not yet decided whether to give Ruben Dias his Manchester City debut against Leeds United after he completed his £62 million ($79m) move from Benfica this week.

The Portugal international only finalised his move to City earlier this week, joining up with his new team-mates for the first time on Thursday following the club’s Carabao Cup victory over Burnley.

Aymeric Laporte made his first start of the season in the win at Turf Moor, while John Stones has been back in training and fellow new signing Nathan Ake is available.

The trip to Leeds to face Guardiola’s old mentor Marcelo Bielsa is one that City cannot afford to drop points in after slipping up at home to Leicester last week.

And although Dias has been brought in to address the defensive concerns on display in that defeat, City fans may have to wait until after the international break to see the Benfica centre-back make his debut.

“He trained twice – yesterday and today,” Guardiola told a news conference.

“He’s settled good. He is part of the team, we have a training session this afternoon and then we will decide.”

Guardiola is still without a number of key players including his only recognised strikers Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus.

Aguero has stepped up his recovery from a knee injury that has ruled him out since June, while Jesus could be available for the meeting with Arsenal on October 17.

“He’s not ready, hopefully after the international break he’ll be ready,” Guardiola said of Jesus. “I think every season he gets better.

“He has to improve in the finishing in the last part of the 18-yard box, to be quicker, sharper, it’s the most difficult position on the pitch but he’s young and he has a desire to improve.

“We are delighted to have him here and I have the feeling every year he’s better than the year before.”

Guardiola is at least starting to get some players back with Laporte and Bernardo Silva playing their first minutes of the season in the Carabao Cup win over Burnley.

Ilkay Gundogan is also coming back into contention after two weeks in self-isolation after a positive Covid-19 test result.

“Today was the first day he came back to the locker room, but he didn’t train with us,” Guardiola added. “He will train with us during the international break and we will see.”