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Manchester City: Benjamin Mendy back in training as recovery continues

Manchester City: Benjamin Mendy back in training as recovery continues

Manchester City defender Benjamin Mendy has stepped up his recovery from a knee injury by returning to training with the club’s first-team squad.

Manchester Evening News reported that the 25-year-old left-back resumed training yesterday for the first time since injuring his knee last season.

According to the Manchester Evening News, the France international is still some time away from getting matchday minutes, with Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola wanting the player to concentrate on being fully fit for at least a month before he can return to the starting XI.

Mendy came to Manchester City two years ago from Monaco in a deal worth £52m, according to BBC, but his time at the Etihad Stadium has been plagued by injury.

He ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in September 2017 and missed the vast majority of his first season at the club with that injury, eventually returning seven months later against Swansea.

He missed 26 matches with knee and meniscal injuries between November and January of last season and has been sidelined since May with his latest knee problem. [via TransferMarkt.co.uk]

In two seasons at the Etihad, Mendy has played just 23 times for Manchester City, with 14 Premier League starts and only three Champions League appearances.

Oleksandr Zinchenko has been the main beneficiary of the France defender’s injury troubles, with the Ukraine left-back stepping in to make 43 appearances over the past two seasons.

The 22-year-old has started all three of Manchester City’s games so far in 2019/20, although there have been aspects of his performance where he stands to improve.

He achieved a 94% passing success rate in the 2-2 draw against Tottenham, misplacing just four of his 67 passes, although he was dribbled past on three occasions in that game and won just one of his four tackles. [via WhoScored.com]

His passing wasn’t quite as crisp against West Ham the previous week, with an 88.1% success rate from 52 out of 59 completed passes, and he won only two of five aerial duels and two of four tackles. [via WhoScored.com]

Mendy won more tackles per game last season (1.6) than Zinchenko has so far this term (1.5), while the France defender’s interception average of one per game in 2018/19 tops his younger colleague’s 0.5 from the start of this season.

Zinchenko has won 1.5 aerial duels per game this season, though, compared to Mendy’s 0.8 per game in 2018/19, and has had a better passing accuracy percentage than the 25-year-old’s success rate of 88.3%.

Once Mendy is fit enough to return to matchday action, he can point to his statistics from last season and claim that he could push Zinchenko hard for his place in the team.

With Angelino the only other left-back in the Manchester City squad and being omitted from the matchday squads against West Ham and Tottenham, Mendy’s return should offer Zinchenko greater competition for the left-back slot and potentially give Guardiola an interesting selection decision to make.

Manchester City fans, can you see Mendy getting back in the team ahead of Zinchenko when he regains full fitness? Comment below with your views!

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