Belfast Telegraph

Kevin de Bruyne set for Manchester City debut

Club record signing Kevin de Bruyne is poised to make his Manchester City debut as David Silva sits out this weekend's trip to Crystal Palace.

Silva is not being risked by manager Manuel Pellegrini ahead of next Tuesday's Champions League encounter against Juventus after suffering an ankle injury during the international break.

That should make it straightforward for the Barclays Premier League leaders to slot their new £54million man into their formidable-looking side.

Speaking at a press conference to preview the Selhurst Park clash with second-placed Palace, Pellegrini said: "In his position it is more easy, maybe, to settle in our team. He needs maybe to be included in the movements of our squad for more time, but if we need him at this moment he can play without problems."

Pellegrini made just one change to his starting line-up in City's first four games of the campaign - all of which were won convincingly without conceding a goal.

Former Chelsea player De Bruyne's big-money move from Wolfsburg came after the last of them, against Watford almost a fortnight ago, and has since been away with Belgium.

Pellegrini would have liked more time to work with him but does not think his lack of familiarity with his new team-mates will be a problem.

He said: "It is not the best way to arrive, to go to his national squad, but it doesn't matter.

"He is a very young player, 24 years old. I always say when good players arrive at a good team with very good players like David, Kun (Sergio Aguero), Yaya (Toure), just to name some, they will continue improving."

The international break has come at a cost for City with the luckless Fabian Delph injured as well as key playmaker Silva.

Delph, who missed the start of the season with a hamstring injury, suffered a fresh problem to the same muscle in the first minute of England's midweek win over Switzerland.

The 25-year-old faces another six weeks on the sidelines and could miss at least City's next seven games, but Pellegrini does not think he was rushed back.

He said: "I think Fabian worked with us before he went with his national squad, with normality, without any problems.

"It was very unlucky for him to have the injury but bad things happen."

Silva's injury does not appear so serious and Pellegrini is hopeful he will be back in contention for the visit of Juve.

He said: "He is out for tomorrow and maybe it is a risk for him to take another kick in the same place, so it is better for him to rest a couple of days."

City's fine start to the season will be tested by Alan Pardew's Palace, who have also made a positive early impression by collecting nine points from their opening four games.

Pellegrini said: "Last season Alan Pardew also finished in a very good way with Crystal Palace.

"He is a manager that always has a good team with good performance. I am not surprised by them because they have very good players."


From Belfast Telegraph