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Mendy closing on return

Benjamin Mendy is ready to hand Pep Guardiola a boost and return to playing action against Norwich City following the international break.

The Manchester City and France left-back has not featured since the unforgettable 4-3 Champions League quarter-final home loss to Tottenham Hotspur on April 17.

Mendy underwent surgery at the end of last season to try and finally get to the bottom of why his left knee would swell up after games, coming just 12 months after he sustained cruciate ligament damage to his other knee.

City are confident doctors have addressed the underlying issue and the powerful £50m defender is set to be included in their squad for the Premier League trip to Carrow Road on September 14.

The wacky Frenchman has played just 19 times for the Citizens since his big-money move from Monaco in the summer of 2017, averaging a trophy every 2.7 games - including a World Cup triumph on home soil last year.

It is understood Mendy has been working overtime to make sure he is in top shape and has impressed Guardiola with his desire to get himself ready, shocking observers with a seemingly less bulkier frame on show.

There is no doubt that Mendy is one of the best attacking full-backs in the world when he is at the top of his game, but the fact remains that Guardiola has become frustrated by his inability to stay fit.

There is a feeling the likeable 25-year-old is drinking in the last-chance saloon at the Etihad and now needs to show he can be relied upon for the long term, with City supporters' patience also wearing thin.

Mendy has found himself in the doghouse due to some of his off-field antics and a penchant for social media, with people close to the player remarking there has been a noticeable change in attitude since his return to the training ground at the start of August.

That can only be a good thing for the club and his prospects of playing a big role as the blue half of Manchester go for a third straight Premier League title.

The former Monaco man's experience will also be vital for City's European prospects, with the Champions League a priority after their failure to land the trophy under Guardiola's stewardship.

Mendy has only featured twice in Europe's elite club competition with his present club, and as it is due to get under way in two weeks' time, Mendy's return would be timely.

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