LONDON |SHIFTMEDIA| Manchester City registered a major setback after one of its defender sustained a serious injury.
Nathan Ake is expected to return to Manchester City today to undergo tests after suffering an injury during the opening stages of the Netherlands’ friendly with Spain on Wednesday night.
The versatile defender – who joined City from Bournemouth in the summer for £40million – started at centre-back for the hosts but was withdrawn after just six minutes of the contest.
Ake was pictured clutching his right hamstring upon leaving the pitch, with former Manchester United man Daley Blind coming on as his replacement.
City boss Pep Guardiola now faces an anxious wait to determine if Ake has sustained a significant injury.
They are not the only Premier League side to have suffered a defensive setback during the international break, either.
Liverpool’s Joe Gomez was forced to withdraw from England duty on Wednesday after suffering a potentially serious knee injury during training.
Club team mate Trent Alexander-Arnold also suffered a calf injury in last weekend’s 1-1 draw with City, while fellow defender Virgil van Dijk is a long-term absentee.
The injury problems will only further strengthen calls – led by Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp – to increase the amount of substitutes Premier League clubs can use to help to manage a congested fixture schedule.
Following football’s restart in June from its coronavirus suspension, the 20 top-flight clubs were allowed to use five subs per game due to the extra physical demands put on the players.
But that rule was scrapped following a vote from Premier League clubs ahead of the 2020/21 season, with three subs per game returning.
However, Europe’s other top leagues continue to utilise the five subs rule, as do UEFA continental competitions the Champions League and Europa League.
Due to a congested schedule, brought on by the pandemic, matches have been coming thick and fast and more injuries have been recorded this season than usual.
City boss Guardiola, along with Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, have both led calls for the five subs rule to be reinstated.
“Today the right-back [Trent Alexander Arnold] for the national team for England is injured, and other players,” Guardiola said.
“It’s so demanding for the players, the same argument all the time.
“I don’t understand, I don’t know who is in charge to decide these things but I don’t know how they don’t understand when all the leagues around the world except this league have five substitutions, to protect the players, to protect the footballers, to protect the physicality of playing every three days.” (talksport)