Manchester City's title defence has not started according to plan, with the champions already trailing Liverpool by eight points.

Jurgen Klopp's side have won eight from eight in the Premier League, while City headed into the international break on the back of a surprise home defeat to Wolves.

For Pep Guardiola, City's defence has to be a huge concern, even though the former Barcelona boss has insisted the club will not be looking to replace the injured Aymeric Laporte in January.

Laporte is set to miss the majority of the season after sustaining an Anterior Cruciate Ligament injury in August, while Vincent Kompany has left a sizeable void in City's defence.

Nicolas Otamendi has been largely unconvincing, while John Stones has his own injury problems and Fernandinho – arguably the Premier League's best defensive midfielder – has had to fill in at the back.

Ahead of Saturday's trip to Selhurst Park to face Crystal Palace, we use Opta data to assess how Guardiola can patch up City's struggling defence.

 

RELIANCE ON OTAMENDI A CAUSE FOR CONCERN

Guardiola has not been helped by a spate of bad luck with injuries, especially with Laporte, who has been mightily impressive since his arrival from Athletic Bilbao in January 2018.

Stones, meanwhile, has been in and out of the side due to both injuries and form, with Kompany preferred for the run-in last season. Otamendi looked set to join Kompany in leaving the club in the off season, though has been a mainstay of City's back line, making seven league appearances and two more in the Champions League. 

The Argentine does boast a passing accuracy of 92.52 per cent, which is higher than Fernandinho or Laporte, while he has also lost possession 148 times fewer than the Frenchman.

While Otamendi has only featured in 25 Premier League matches since the start of last season, he does have a higher tackle, duel and aerial duel success rate than Laporte and only conceded 16 fouls.

However, the former Valencia man showed clear weaknesses in the defeat to Wolves, recklessly lunging in on Raul Jimenez in the build-up to the opener, while it was his mistake at Carrow Road which led to Norwich City's third goal in a 3-2 win for the Canaries.

Of the players who have played at the back for City since the start of 2018-19, only Otamendi (2) has made errors which directly resulted in a goal.

KOMPANY'S IMPACT UNDERESTIMATED?

City reportedly moved for Harry Maguire in the off season, only to baulk at Leicester City's asking price, which was eventually paid by cross-city rivals Manchester United.

However, the decision not to replace inspirational former captain Kompany, who scored a stunning goal against Leicester as he led City to the title last term, seemed a risky one.

City did not lose a single game in all competitions last season in which Kompany started, with the Belgian having been named in 13 Premier League line ups.

Kompany played 1,223 minutes in the top flight last term, making no errors resulting in a shot at goal, while managing an impressive pass accuracy of 93.07% behind only Stones in terms of City's defenders.

The 33-year-old lost possession 93 times, though, perhaps due to a lack of pace, did concede 17 fouls – more than Otamendi or Stones despite playing fewer games.

He was dribbled past by an opponent on only one occasion and, from the 18 matches he started in all competitions last season, City claimed 17 wins, conceding just 12 goals.

SETTLE ON STONES UNTIL JANUARY

The simple answer to City's problems is likely to get Laporte back fit and firing as soon as possible, given they have an 82 per cent win percentage with the 25-year-old starting in the Premier League since the start of last season, compared to 75% without.

However, for now Guardiola must find a defensive pairing he can stick with until January. Fernandinho and Otamendi have featured in the last three league matches, but against Wolves their lack of pace was exposed.

Stones should soon return to action and, though the England international's form has been criticised, his statistics make for promising reading.

The former Everton man has a tackle success rate of 75%, higher than any of City's other centre-backs, and has conceded just six fouls since the start of 2018-19.

If Stones can stay fit, he should be City's first-choice centre-back until the new year, with Otamendi and Fernandinho vying for the other spot.

Former Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany insisted John Stones will prove his quality and silence his critics.

Stones has won two Premier League titles among other honours since joining City from Everton in 2016, however, doubts remain over the England international's long-term credentials in Manchester.

Errors and a lack of consistency have raised questions over Stones, who started 20 league matches last season but missed most of the run-in as Pep Guardiola preferred Kompany.

However, Kompany – who has since departed City for Anderlecht in a player-coach role – backed the 25-year-old to prove his doubters wrong.

"I've always said John is one of the most talented defenders. He's got such a bright future," Kompany said.

"He's already achieved a lot, let's not forget that. He's not a young defender anymore that hasn't got any experience. He's a multiple Premier League-winning central defender that is growing.

"The one thing I wish for him is consistency - consistency of games and consistency of fitness - and then he will show the world how good he is.

"By the end of it, if City can win a Champions League or something, all of a sudden he'll be mentioned in a completely different category.

"He just has to get himself on the pitch, be himself and he'll be fine. I've not seen signs of weakness I need to be worried about.

"He's just a top-class defender. If now he gets to play games things will sort themselves out, no doubt."

Stones started in City's season-opening 5-0 rout of West Ham, however, a thigh injury has forced him to miss matches against Tottenham, Bournemouth and Brighton and Hove Albion.

A packed Etihad Stadium paid a warm tribute to Vincent Kompany on Wednesday as his Manchester City Legends played out a 2-2 draw against a Premier League All Stars XI.

The four-time Premier League winner saw the funny side of a hamstring strain keeping him out of his own testimonial, the new day job as player-coach of Anderlecht meaning he could not risk lining up alongside an array of past team-mates.

"For me not to play this game because of an injury… surely the irony has not escaped anyone?" Kompany chuckled before the match – his 11-year stint as an inspirational and decorated captain at City having been frequently peppered with injury lay-offs.

Given a guard of honour onto the field before kick-off, the man of the hour was serenaded by the masses and embraced by fellow club greats Colin Bell, Mike Summerbee and Tony Book.

He then gave way to those fit enough to take part, and there was much to enjoy as plenty of famous faces came together to raise money for Kompany's Tackle4MCR homelessness charity.

Painful night for Neville

Gary Neville's work as a property developer is already well noted in Manchester. The former United and England right-back probably didn't need to labour the point by granting Martin Petrov his own postcode for the opening goal. Jamie Carragher blamed his defensive colleague, Neville disagreed and the debate will probably continue in Sky Sports' Monday Night Football studio.

Neville willingly played the pantomime villain, even taking a corner to soak up boos before pinging a hamstring and departing before half-time.

Dad's Army stands firm

Okay, so it might have only been for 27 minutes in a friendly, but Neville, Carragher, Michael Carrick and Ashley Cole became the first defensive unit to stop Sergio Aguero scoring this season. Somewhere, Sven-Goran Eriksson was beaming with pride.

Where's Mario?

Aguero would have loved the chance to renew his old strike partnership with Mario Balotelli. However, speaking earlier on Wednesday, Kompany foresaw problems. "I think Mario is coming, he should be," he said. "But with Mario everything can go wrong."

Balotelli did indeed turn up, resplendent in a black hoodie, sunglasses and a studded baseball cap. However, he did not warm up and City supporters chanting for his introduction did so in vain – Benjani handily distracting them with a gleefully received equaliser.

Apparently, the Italy striker's new club Brescia had no idea he was in Manchester and he has training at 9am on Thursday. Never change, Mario.

Still got it

Paul Scholes ran through the repertoire. The Manchester United great hacked repeatedly to bring Samir Nasri down during the first-half, while he followed a delightful outside-of-the-foot pass with a deft scoop shortly after the interval. Carpet slippers in possession, hobnail boots out of it.

Nigel de Jong showed the slide tackle remains his preferred method of navigating a football pitch and Stephen Ireland – arguably the great "what if…" of City's Abu Dhabi era produced some silky moments. Robin van Persie put the All Stars ahead with aplomb.

They were all arguably outshone by Petrov, who looks somewhere close to his fighting weight five-and-a-half years since last turning out professionally for CSKA Sofia. There remained too much of a turn of pace for Neville and Carragher, while the left foot that rifled the opener into the roof of the net is still an absolute wand.

Lads, it's for charity!

For a moment, Robbie Keane seemed disgruntled by De Jong giving him a flashback to LA Galaxy's training pitches circa 2016, but the only time the friendly atmosphere truly threatened the fray was when Nicky Butt renewed acquaintances with Craig Bellamy.

Butt clattered through the back of his fellow shrinking violet, who seemed keen to prolong the argument.

End of an era

The biggest roar during the early stages came when Pablo Zabaleta performed an inch-perfect tackle on Cole. The sight of the talismanic Argentinian lining up with De Jong, Joe Hart, Joleon Lescott and the rest once again underlined how much road has been travelled since City's first Premier League title in 2011-12.

Pep Guardiola's slick winning machine is obviously adored in these parts, but it is clear how much that first flush of success – when everything seemed possible, but Carlos Tevez went on strike and Balotelli hosted pre-match fireworks displays in his bathroom – will always mean.

That Kompany, indomitable and in the form of his life, held it all together goes a long way to explaining the enduring affection he enjoys.

Vincent Kompany is to be honoured with a sculpture outside the Etihad Stadium, Manchester City have announced.

Kompany left at the end of the 2018-19 season, having led City to a domestic treble, to take up a player-manager role at his first club, Anderlecht.

The former captain is back in Manchester for his testimonial match this week, although a hamstring injury has ruled him out of being able to play in Wednesday's fixture.

City have revealed Kompany's contribution to the club will be recognised with a sculpture, while a road at their training centre has also been renamed Vincent Kompany Crescent.

"It is an incredible honour to be recognised by this special club in this way," Kompany told City's official website.

"The journey that we went on together throughout my 11 years in Manchester changed my life and I am delighted to have played my small part in altering the course of this club's history during that time.

"To establish a permanent, physical connection with a place that will forever mean so much to me is truly humbling and I will always be grateful to [owner] Sheikh Mansour, [chairman] Khaldoon Al Mubarak and all those associated with City for their unwavering support and kindness."

Kompany, who won four Premier Leagues with City as well as four EFL Cups and two FA Cups during his 11 years in Manchester, has also been immortalised in a mosaic.

The image, placed above the sign for Vincent Kompany Crescent, depicts his celebration after he scored the only goal in the crucial 1-0 win over Manchester United in 2012 that helped City win their first Premier League title.

"Vincent is a special figure in the history of Manchester City Football Club," added Al Mubarak. "He is not only an inspirational and resolute leader on the pitch, but an impeccable and articulate ambassador off it.

"His contribution will be remembered for generations to come, by supporters of our club and the wider football community who rightly recognise Vincent as one of the iconic Premier League figures of his generation."

Virgil van Dijk has a claim of being the best centre-back in Premier League history, according to former Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany.

Van Dijk was named UEFA Men's Player of the Year last month and the Liverpool defender is firmly in Ballon d'Or contention after inspiring Jurgen Klopp's team to Champions League glory last season.

Liverpool and Van Dijk missed out to City by a point in an unrelenting Premier League title race in 2018-19 that ended with Kompany lifting the trophy for the fourth time in his career.

Now in the early stages of his tenure as player-manager at Anderlecht, Kompany is back in Manchester for his testimonial at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday – a match where the proceeds will go to his Tackle4MCR charity that aims to address the problem of homelessness in the city.

Somewhat fittingly and unfortunately, the frequently injury-ravaged 33-year-old will not be able to feature for a Manchester City All-Stars XI against his Premier League All-Stars due to a hamstring strain.

When discussing where he stood among the Premier League's finest central defenders, Kompany said such setbacks – calf strains were a persistent feature of his 11 years in east Manchester – meant he was fighting a losing battle against some of the greats.

"I never try to put me in any of these categories because these guys have been consistently at the top of their powers," he told a pre-match news conference.

"My journey was completely different. I've never been able to deal with the same tools. I've had a lot of injuries, a lot of comebacks.

"For me not to play this game because of an injury… surely the irony has not escaped anyone?

"That's been my journey at City; that's how they know me. I was always fighting my own battles. I could never compete with anybody else because I could not get the volume of games, but I was able to be substantial for my team and that's the only thing that mattered to me."

Although he was drawn to credit some of his contemporaries from earlier in the decade, Kompany cannot help but be impressed by Van Dijk's prowess.

"I go back to players that really impressed me when I played against them, central defenders [but] I would bring it back to Virgil van Dijk," he said.

"It's a weird one because he hasn't been on the scene for as long as John Terry, Rio Ferdinand – these guys were there for a long, long time - but the signs he showed in the last few years make it obvious that if he had been at the top level for longer, he would be further as well.

"Being a defender is how you make your team more solid. The Liverpool before Van Dijk and after, it is a completely different set-up. I'll give him that [accolade] because of that."

Aymeric Laporte looked primed to assume Kompany's mantle of being City's defensive lynchpin but a knee injury means the France international is facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

It leaves Pep Guardiola short of senior centre-backs after deciding not to replace Kompany, but the ex-skipper believes there is no undue cause for concern.

"Losing Laporte, you lose a big player," he added. "You need them in the bigger games so that's where we'll see [if it has an impact].

"But the key strength of this Manchester City team and what Pep has been able to do is that it is relying more on the system than the individuals.

"If you go back through the last two years, in which the team won five of the available six domestic trophies, they've had to deal with long spells of Fernandinho out, long spells of Kevin De Bruyne out, long spells of myself being out.

"Sergio Aguero as well – big players – and the team has never seemed to collapse."

Vincent Kompany has revealed he will not play in his own Manchester City testimonial due to a hamstring injury.

Former City captain Kompany is returning to the Etihad Stadium for the first time since his departure at the end of last season, yet he will not feature in the match between Manchester City Legends and a Premier League All-Stars XI.

The 33-year-old, who has endured a tough start to life as Anderlecht player-coach, has not featured since hobbling out of a 1-0 defeat to Genk on August 23.

Kompany, who repeatedly suffered with injuries at City, last playing more than 30 Premier League games in a season in 2011-12, announced his absence from Wednesday's fixture in good humour.

"Unfortunately I won't be starting or playing," the Belgian told a news conference on the day of the match. "It's typical of me, right? I'm usually there for the end of the season...

"I've got a slight hamstring injury so I couldn't unfortunately risk it tonight.

"To say goodbyes doesn't necessarily have to be on the pitch, as such, and we're doing it for an unbelievable cause [Tackle4MCR, an initiative Kompany set up to help the homeless]."

With David Silva, Kompany's replacement as captain, leaving at the end of the season, he added: "I'll be there for David Silva's testimonial."

Kevin De Bruyne has revealed he plans to join former Manchester City team-mate Vincent Kompany at Anderlecht.

Kompany left City at the end of the 2018-19 season, in which he led them to a domestic clean sweep, to take up a player-manager role in his native Belgium.

He has endured a stumbling start to life back at Anderlecht, though, and has already stepped back from managerial duties on matchdays.

De Bruyne has backed his compatriot to turn things around, however, with the City playmaker even offering to join Kompany's squad in the future.

"I hope his career will be just as amazing at Anderlecht as it was at City," De Bruyne told The Sun of international colleague Kompany.

"I've told him to keep a place in his team for me in a year, or seven, when I'm finished here [at City].

"If he does do that for me I will already have my next destination lined up; my next job.

"I will definitely miss him being around City."

Kompany's testimonial will be played at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday.

And De Bruyne gave an insight into the role played by Kompany in his decision to join City.

"At the time City were trying to sign me from Wolfsburg and Vinny was pushing for me to move to Manchester to play alongside him," De Bruyne added.

"He would constantly ask me when I was coming. He would say 'you need to come', constantly encouraging me to join City."

Vincent Kompany believes football must ensure diversity at administrative levels if it is to effectively address the problem of racism.

Kompany's Belgium team-mate Romelu Lukaku was the target of racist chanting during Inter's 2-1 Serie A win at Cagliari last weekend – the latest in a succession of recent incidents that have seen players abused due to the colour of their skin.

With a number of the recent flashpoints having occurred online, Twitter issued a statement on Tuesday detailing meetings with English players' union the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA), anti-discrimination group Kick It Out and clubs of players affected, while pledging to curb "unacceptable behaviour" on its site.

However, Kompany feels problems will continue to fester so long as the football bodies handing out punishments for racist behaviour do not effectively represent different ethnicities.

"Romelu is a victim of something disgraceful. Something that should never happen, not just in a football stadium but in society," the Anderlecht player-manager told Sky Sports News.

"Really, if you go back to who we are now expecting decisions from – the institutions - that is where the problem lies.

"The real racism lies in the fact that none of these institutions have representatives who can really understand what Romelu is going through.

"You're dealing with a crowd of people and decision-makers who are all trying to explain to Romelu how he should think, how he should feel about this, when you actually have no decision-makers who are remotely in touch with what he's experienced in his life.

"That's the real issue when you go through the board of UEFA, the Italian league, English league, everywhere.

"There is a true, true problem of diversity and, as long as you don't have diversity in places of power and in boardrooms, you cannot have the right decisions in terms of sanctions."

Kompany was speaking ahead of his testimonial at Manchester City next Wednesday, where Arsenal and France great Thierry Henry has become the latest player confirmed as part of the Premier League All-Stars XI.

A City side featuring David Silva and Sergio Aguero will be led by Kompany and contain a host of the long-serving captain's ex-team-mates, with all proceeds to be donated to the Tackle4MCR homelessness charity.

In the meantime, the 33-year-old has been adapting to his first managerial assignment with boyhood club Anderlecht.

It has proved a tough introduction to top-level coaching, with Kompany forced to wait until the 1-0 weekend win over rivals Standard Liege – a game he missed due to a hamstring strain – to taste victory for the first time.

"It was a good win," he said. "It's our version of the Clasico.

"The fans have been waiting for it patiently. [We have had] Good football and no results but now we've got good football and results. Everybody's happy."

Vincent Kompany will be a success at Anderlecht if he is given time, according to his former Manchester City team-mate Kevin De Bruyne.

Kompany became the Belgian club's player-manager during the close season, but saw his role change last week after they had taken just two points from their first four games.

It was confirmed Kompany will now act as captain on matchdays with first-team coach Simon Davies in charge of tactics, although it did not inspire a reversal in fortunes on Friday, as Anderlecht slipped to a 1-0 defeat to Genk – a game in which Kompany limped off injured.

Despite the difficult start, his Belgium team-mate and City midfielder De Bruyne believes he will turn things around.

"He's been a manager for like two months, so what do you expect? To go there and win every game? It's not like this in football," he told reporters.

"I think there's a lot of people who want him to fail, because to do this job, to be player and a manager, some people don't like it. I know Vinny pretty well and he probably won't care what people say about it.

"I spoke with him a few times, he's enjoying it. The games that I saw I think they're playing really well, they're missing a striker for the moment, but I think he had a very tough job.

"Obviously he didn't start well in terms of points, but I can understand it a little bit because he is trying to play a style that we did [at City] and obviously we had growing pains, so I can understand that.

"Football is a business where you get points, but I think he will get time. In Belgium only one is relegated, so I don't think he needs to worry about that! If he gets the time, that will be nice."

Vincent Kompany was substituted after suffering an injury on Friday as Anderlecht lost again.

The former Manchester City captain saw his role as player-manager for his first professional club change this week.

It was confirmed Kompany will now act as captain on matchdays with first-team coach Simon Davies in charge of tactics.

But after Anderlecht took two points from their first four games, the switch failed to yield an immediate improvement at Genk on Friday.

Mbwana Samatta scored the only goal of the game to earn last season's Belgian champions a narrow 1-0 victory.

And to make matters worse for Kompany, the Belgium centre-back limped off with 15 minutes to go after seemingly suffering a muscle injury.

Kompany is due to play in his City testimonial on September 11, but his participation in that game may now be in doubt.

Manchester City Legends will take on a Premier League All-Stars XI featuring players including Rafael van der Vaart.

Vincent Kompany will pass on coaching duties on matchdays after a dreadful start to his tenure as player-manager of Anderlecht.

Kompany ended an 11-year association with Manchester City in May after captaining the club to an unprecedented domestic treble in English football.

The 33-year-old Belgium centre-back opted for a return to his boyhood club as player-manager but an anticipated fairy tale has not got off to the anticipated start, with Anderlecht fourth bottom of the Belgian First Division with two points from four matches.

Friday's trip to Genk is the start of a tough run of four matches that also includes fixtures with Standard Liege, Antwerp and Club Brugge.

First-team coach Simon Davies – formerly Manchester City's academy chief – will now lead Anderlecht from the sidelines, with Kompany functioning as captain.

"As players and staff we're trying to find which players suit the system better than some. There's always going to be change, especially at the start," Davies told a news conference.

"We're trying a new project here. It's not going to happen overnight. This is a playing style that's new to the football club.

"We need some stability and one of those things that's going to change straight away is Vinny is going to be captain from the next game. He's going to lead the team and really concentrate on being the player on matchday.

"This is one of the things that we're going to try. We work so well as a staff during the week. Vinny and the club have a vision and we all work to it as staff.  But it's important he's a player on match day.

"If Vinny can be the best player in the league, which he is, and lead on the field and I can take the responsibility in terms of other things, how we play, if we need to change shape during the game – I will take that responsibility with the staff on the side.

"We're finding out about each other. This is a new and different situation. All we know is we're going to be successful. This is just another step and a little bit more learning about each other."

Kompany's commitment to a style of play akin to Guardiola's City template has come in for criticism but Davies insists Anderlecht will not divert from their chosen path because of poor results.

"He loves the club so much he wants to give everything he's got to the club. What's more important is he continues to be one of the players, be the leader and concentrate on matchday," Davies added.

"It's also important that I can help and assist with that so we have a leader on the pitch and a leader on the side. Vinny can concentrate on the grass and I can focus on the tactical decisions.

"What overrides this is we're so confident it's untrue. We want success and the fans deserve that."

Belgium international Nacer Chadli has joined Anderlecht on a season-long loan from Ligue 1 side Monaco.

The 30-year-old arrived at the Stade Louis II from West Brom ahead of the 2018-19 campaign but was restricted to just 22 appearances in all competitions.

He was an unused substitute for the opening-day defeat to Lyon on Friday and will now link up with Belgium team-mate Vincent Kompany, who took over as Anderlecht's player-manager in May, with Monaco confirming the loan deal on their official website.

Former Manchester City captain Kompany has endured a difficult start to the season with his side picking up just two points from their opening three Belgian First Division A games.

Chadli, who has made 51 appearances for Belgium, has also enjoyed spells with Tottenham, Twente and AGOVV Apeldoorn.

Vincent Kompany's first league match as Anderlecht player-manager did not go to plan, as the 34-time champions suffered a shock 2-1 home defeat to Oostende on Sunday.

Manchester City icon Kompany left the Premier League giants at the end of last season to return to his first club in a dual capacity following Anderlecht's disappointing fourth-place finish in 2018-19.

But their 2019-20 opener is proof Kompany has much work to do, as Oostende – who ended last term 14th in the 16-team division – came from behind to take the spoils.

The home fans unfurled an impressive tifo in tribute to Kompany before the match, with the banner reading "left as a prince, returned as a king".

And it all looked to be going so well when Michel Vlap, a new €8million signing from Heerenveen, gave Anderlecht the early lead with a fine finish inside the area in the 13th minute.

But Oostende breached the hosts' defence – which included Kompany – soon after, with former Anderlecht midfielder Ronald Vargas converting Robbie D'Haese's low cross.

Samir Nasri was introduced as a substitute in the second half, with Kompany's former City colleague making his debut after joining on a free transfer.

But Oostende had designs on sealing all three points, and Fashion Sakala netted against the run of play 15 minutes from time to inflict a first competitive defeat on Kompany as player-manager in his debut outing.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is hopeful last season's treble winners can add another centre back before the new season starts.

The Citizens are in the market for a new defender after club captain Vincent Kompany departed the Etihad following 11 seasons at the club.

City has been linked with Leicester City's Harry Maguire, and while Guardiola refused to discuss the England international specifically, he acknowledges that they are looking at transfer targets.

"We will see," Guardiola said when asked if City needed to replace Kompany. "But yeah, we are looking for some names.

"At the same time, we have three centre-backs who can play there and we have two young players in the second team who can help us.

"We shall see if the market is possible and if the club believes we can spend that money. But if they don't, we shan't spend it."

The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager also addressed speculation surrounding the future of German winger Leroy Sane.

"We want him to stay. Hopefully he can stay this season and another one and another one, that's why we offered him a new contract," Guardiola said.

"I want him. He has special qualities, we play wingers and we need specific wingers. But it is his decision, it’s the same as what happened with [Jadon] Sancho. We want him, we are giving everything, but in the end, if he doesn’t want, what can you do? Nothing."

City have made two signings this off-season with Spanish midfielder Rodri joining for a club-record £63million and full-back Angelino returning to the club from PSV Eindhoven.

Kevin De Bruyne will "gladly" accept the Manchester City captaincy should his team-mates choose him as the player to take over from the departed Vincent Kompany.

City are without a club captain since Kompany left for Anderlecht at the end of last season and they are yet to confirm who will fulfil the role next term.

De Bruyne came on as a substitute in City's first pre-season friendly on Wednesday, setting up the final goal in a 4-1 rout of West Ham, who they face in their opening Premier League fixture.

Pep Guardiola confirmed after the match in China that City's squad will pick the next captain when all of the players have returned to pre-season training.

And De Bruyne says he would be more than willing to take on the challenge.

"If the team wants me to be captain, I will gladly accept it," De Bruyne told reporters.

"But, I think everyone needs to talk about it as a team and as a club. It will be spoken about when everyone comes back.

"I think we need to do that together because it's a really important job, not only on the pitch, but off it."

As well as new club-record signing Rodri, City academy graduates Tommy Doyle and Taylor Harwood-Bellis were handed their first appearances in Nanjing, and in an example of his leadership qualities, De Bruyne lauded the youngsters for their performances.

"If you play for one of the best clubs players in the world, to be a youth player and get through [to the first team] you have to be exceptional," he said.

"I started in Belgium, the level is not the same as it is here [in England]. It's maybe easier to get more chances. If you want to play for us, you know what the level is and if you perform on the pitch you will get the chance.

"I think they did really well and I'm happy to see that. A great moment for many of them to start for the first time for a club like us."

City's pre-season tour continues on Saturday when they take on Wolves in the final of the Premier League Asia Trophy.

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