MANCHESTER — Manchester City are on a collision course with Belgium after Marc Wilmots declared he wants to pick Vincent Kompany for a game Manuel Pellegrini said he “cannot” play.
Kompany has missed Manchester City’s last four matches and will sit out Saturday’s home game against Newcastle and manager Pellegrini is not sure if the 29-year-old will have recovered from his calf injury in time to face Bournemouth two weeks later.
But Belgium have called him up for their Euro 2016 qualifiers against Andorra and Israel and Pellegrini admitted he is powerless to stop them from selecting him.
Belgium manager Marc Wilmots told reporters: “I talked to Vincent on the phone. His injury is not that serious, there is no burst. On Monday he starts to run again.
“He won’t play on Saturday against Andorra, but there’s a big chance that against Israel he will be fit to play. Anyway I wanted Vincent with us, he will follow his schedule with us. But we won’t take risks with him.”
But while Pellegrini insisted he is happy for Kompany to link up his national team, he is adamant he must not play.
He said in a news conference: “It’s outside the control of any club manager. The national team have a list of the players that play for them. They have the authority to use them in the international break.
“We can’t do anything about that because they have decision that he’s not able to play.”
Kompany has already been involved in one club-versus-country row when Pellegrini’s predecessor Roberto Mancini complained in March 2013 that the defender had lined up, against his wishes, for his country against Macedonia when he had not appeared for City for two months.
Now Pellegrini thinks Kompany could return to Manchester during the international break, saying: “We will see what Vincent Kompany will do. At the beginning, he must go with his national squad. We will see if he comes back.”
Kompany has suffered 10 calf injuries in the last three years and Pellegrini admitted City have to plan without him at times.
“All players have history, not only talking about Vincent Kompany,” he said. “You have an average [number of] games that you don’t play every season. You must understand some players will not play the whole year. Unfortunately for him, he has a lot of injuries.”
City bought another centre-back in the summer, paying Valencia £31.5 million for Argentina international Nicolas Otamendi, and while their defensive record has deteriorated since he came in for Kompany, Pellegrini defended the newcomer.
“I decided we need another centre-back,” he said. “We choose Otamendi and he is playing very well.”
But City have only conceded once this season with Kompany on the pitch and Pellegrini said: “Vincent is a very important player for us. He’s important because he has a lot of character and personality.
“I don’t want to link one thing with the other. He’s our captain, an important payer. I said from the first five games when we didn’t concede a goal that the form of the defence was untouchable in that moment.”
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