Erling Haaland: Manchester City striker to return from injury against Burnley

Manager Pep Guardiola also welcomes back John Stones and Manuel Akanji as squad nears full strength

Erling Haaland is fit again after nearly two months out. Getty Images
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Manchester City striker Erling Haaland is set to feature against Burnley on Wednesday night after nearly two months out with a foot injury.

The 23-year-old hasn't played since City's 1-0 defeat at Aston Villa on December 6, a match in which he completed the full 90 minutes but complained of pain in his foot afterwards.

The striker was pictured taking part in first-team training during the Premier League champions' warm weather training camp in Abu Dhabi earlier this month, and will now make his comeback against the Clarets at the Etihad Stadium.

"For the first time he is back," said boss Pep Guardiola, who refused to say whether the Norway international would start the match.

“When we have all the squad, we are stronger, definitely, and Erling is an important player for us. He has been two months out, it is a long time, but he feels good. We have to train this afternoon but apparently tomorrow he will be with all of us.”

Haaland’s absence has been his first significant lay-off since joining City. He scored 52 goals last season in a remarkable debut campaign with the club and had already netted 19 times this term when he sustained the injury.

His return comes at a time when last season's treble winners are welcoming back a raft of key players.

Midfielder Kevin de Bruyne, who last week told The National his injury – suffered in the reverse fixture against Burnley on the opening day – was a blessing in disguise, has hit the ground running following his own spell out.

Meanwhile, Guardiola also confirmed defenders Manuel Akanji and John Stones will be available after injuries and in contention for the game. That would put the squad at near enough full-strength as they seek to overhaul Liverpool at the top of the table and retain their league title.

Guardiola added: "The most important news is almost all of the squad is fit. We don't have injuries. Manu [Akanji] is back, he's training well and doesn't feel his knee. It's the same with John [Stones] as well.

"The important part of season starts now. [We have the] FA Cup, the Champions League is around the corner and of course the Premier League – it’s important that we have everyone available."

Guardiola was once again asked about Jurgen Klopp's decision to leave Liverpool and whether he, too, has thoughts about his own future.

But he said: "I have everything that a manager could dream [of], how they support me. We've changed a lot of players in seven years but they've been fantastic, incredibly supportive, and it's a good environment.

"I still feel good and, of course, one day it is going to finish, but I don't think about that right now."

On Wednesday, former club captain Vincent Kompany will return to the Etihad Stadium as manager of relegation-threatened Burnley. His side lie five points from safety but the former Belgium centre-back says his players will be brave against the "best team in the world".

"They're a great side, they've got top players and a top manager, so the combination of that makes them very difficult to play against," said Kompany.

"I try to look at it this way, there's not many times you get the opportunity to play against what's currently maybe the best team in the world, and whatever they bring we have to try to make a game out of it and show our best side. That's the ambition."

Manchester City in Abu Dhabi - in pictures

Updated: January 30, 2024, 2:19 PM