Man City suffer Ilkay Gundogan injury blow as Pep Guardiola prepares to draft in academy youngsters

Ilkay Gundogan has added to Manchester City’s growing injury crisis ahead of a crucial week of big games.

And manager Pep Guardiola said the list of crocked players is so bad that he has “no choice” but to play several of his talented academy products when the Blues begin their Carabao Cup defence against Wycombe on Tuesday.

Guardiola hinted that Germany midfielder Gundogan picked up a problem in Saturday’s goalless draw with Southampton, when City were already without centre backs John Stones and Aymeric Laporte, defensive midfielder Rodri, left-back Aleks Zinchenko and reserve keeper Zack Steffen.

That meant the Blues were down to 15 senior squad players in that game, and with Gundogan adding to that list, there are just 14 available at the moment.

Guardiola would have given some of the talented youngsters a chance against League One side Wycombe anyway, but with away Premier League games against Chelsea and Liverpool coming up, and a trip to Paris St Germain wedged in between, the injury list is a growing concern.

City’s subs bench was made up of stars Kevin De Bruyne, Phil Foden, Ferran Torres and Riyad Mahrez, who could all step in against Wycombe.

But promising youngsters Luke Mbete (centre back), Joshua Wilson-Esbrand (left back), Romeo Lavia (defensive midfield) and Cole Palmer (wide/attacking midfield) were also in the matchday squad and are geared up for a game in the cup tie.

Also sure to come into contention are striker Liam Delap, who scored and assisted in his comeback from injury in the under-23s at the weekend, midfielder James McAtee – who has been in brilliant form in the youth ranks – and winger Sam Edozie.

New boy Kayky has also been training with the first-team squad, but did not figure in the EDS’s 4-2 win over Crystal Palace, so seems unlikely to take the step up to senior level.

Guardiola also ruled out Ruben Dias and Joao Cancelo, as they are the only players to have played every minute of every game so far this season.

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Asked if he would play some of the youngsters on Tuesday, Guardiola said: “I don’t have another alternative.

“We are going to play a few young players. Some first team players but some players must rest for the three games we have ahead of us.

“A few players from the academy are going to play because we have John, Ayme, Aleks, Rodri, I think Gundogan, all of them injured.

“Ruben played all the minutes, Joao played all the minutes so I don’t think they will be able to play in this game.

“We will see after tomorrow (Sunday) because we have three days to make a good selection but it is an opportunity for the academy – that’s why they are there.”

News of injuries to Rodri and Zinchenko broke ahead of the game against Saints, and Guardiola said he does not know how long either player will be out, but Stones and Laporte are already doubtful for next Saturday’s trip to Chelsea.