By North-west correspondent Alex Stevens
Joe Hart has raised fresh questions about the future of Vincent Kompany by revealing how his team-mate’s body is struggling to cope with the rigours of top-level football.
Kompany has been sidelined since 8 November with a calf injury and his absence has been sorely felt by Manchester City, who were comprehensively beaten by Liverpool and Stoke in that time.
The City skipper, who turns 30 in April and has been missing with a series of niggling injuries in recent seasons, is facing a race against time to be fit for next Monday’s Premier League showdown against Arsenal at Emirates Stadium.
Hart believes that Kompany’s body is feeling the strain of a decade at the highest level and the days of him playing every match for the club have passed.
“We appreciate that now with Vinny we are not going to get 60 games a season out of him,” Hart said. “He’s put himself through the mill. He’s 29 now, he’s played about 4,000 games and he’s had the same amount of operations.
“You have to appreciate there’ll be games when he can’t play now. You appreciate him when he does play and you want him to be in the best condition he can be. But I think Nico [Otamendi] has come in and been a pretty special signing for us and Manga [Eliaquim Mangala] has got to grips with it now in his second season. Then Martín [Demichelis] is there if we need him. We have players who do the job filling in.”
City, despite investing around £150 million on strengthening their squad in the summer, are still massively reliant on a core of players including Hart, Kompany, David Silva and Sergio Aguero.