De Bruyne and Stones hand Guardiola fitness boost

Kevin De Bruyne and John Stones have returned to training with Manchester City.

Influential midfielder De Bruyne started this season in superb form, racing to eight assists in the Premier League.

But a groin problem kept him out of City’s past two matches, including a lacklustre 2-0 loss at home to Wolves last time out that left Pep Guardiola’s men eight points shy of leaders Liverpool in England’s top flight.

Stones has been out with a hamstring injury since mid-September – an absence that has been keenly felt after Aymeric Laporte underwent knee surgery.

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It left Nicolas Otamendi as City’s only specialist senior centre-back, with midfielder Fernandinho pressed into action alongside the Argentina defender in recent weeks.

Sergio Aguero was not selected alongside his compatriot Otamendi for games against Germany and Ecuador over the international break, with Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni claiming “he’s been carrying a problem and has not been training 100 per cent with his club”.

However, City’s all-time record goalscorer took part in Monday’s session alongside Stones and De Bruyne.

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City resume their Premier League title defence at Crystal Palace on Saturday before looking to make it three wins out of three in the Champions League when they entertain Atalanta next Tuesday.

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