What is going on with Man City’s long-suffering centre-half and captain? With thirty-three injuries over an eight year period, it would seem that Vincent Kompany is trying to follow his head over his heart, as he aims to maintain fitness and regularly compete for the Blues.
Taking advice is one thing but listening to it and following it is a whole different ball game – excuse the pun. Kompany’s evident passion, limitless drive and self-sacrificing determination are what makes the former leader, not only a fan’s favourite but a highly respected and revered player around the world.
However, his recent injury woes are taking their toll on the player, the management and the reporter’s patience as he plays bit parts in the new campaign and his overall fitness and long-term sustainability is questionable.
At the weekend against Southampton, he showed his coolness and qualities as a defender and distributor, while I looked on from the stands in admiration it was tinged with a big dollop of hope. When he crashed into Vigil van Dijk in the second half, I winced and breathed a sigh of relief as he took the booking and sauntered back in position.
His presence, poise and power in the back four certainly brings an air of solidity to a sometimes calamitous concoction of characters. Even Senior Bravo looked more at home with the big Belgian blocking and battling in front of him!
Another excellent performance in the first half against United in the EFL Cup fixture on Wednesday night, saw him dominate a physical fight with both Ibrahimovich and Pogba looking remarkably average in his wake. Reports say he told Guardiola he was too tired to come out for the second half, raising eyebrows at first but perhaps re-igniting fears over his fitness and injury worries.
Although the Spanish Coach was pleased to announce it wasn’t an injury concern and saw it as another stage completed on the road to recovery, can he rely on his Captain to ultimately return to the level that we all know he is capable of?
Food for thought comes from the likes of Ledley King – so pivotal for years at White Hart Lane as the club’s captain and key centre-half, yet ongoing injuries and muscle problems blighted his career. This resulted in a part-time, low impact approach to training, ensure he was available on match days for Spurs but pretty much writing him off for England.
Back in the day, I remember Paul McGrath doing something similar for Villa and the Republic of Ireland as his knees could not cope with the physical demands of training yet with gentle fitness work, etc. during the week he was fit enough to compete when it mattered.
Will this approach work for the 30-year-old adopted Mancunian? – Well, only time will tell. One thing is for certain, when he is fit and functioning City’s defence looks a whole lot more formidable.
Football would certainly be missing out if his playing days are numbered, but I’m sure with careful planning, patience and ‘honesty’ between Kompany and the medical team, a solution can be found to get the best from him and keep him on the pitch where he belongs. Maintain the faith Blues!