Could Aguero’s break from international duty benefit City?

17 Sep

This is a guest post from Richard Thomson.

Following Manchester City’s 2-1 Premier League win over Newcastle United that lifted the club to fourth in the table behind Liverpool, Chelsea and Watford, forward Sergio Aguero wasted no time in making the most of the international break.

The Argentine headed off to Italy to enjoy the Grand Prix in Monza to watch Drivers’ Championship favourite Lewis Hamilton extend his lead in the standings. The flying Brit is now odds-on in the latest Formula 1 odds to equal the legendary Juan Manuel Fangio and claim a fifth title.

Aguero featured in the game against the Magpies as Raheem Sterling and Kyle Walker bagged the crucial goals to make it three wins and a draw from City’s four games, but his exclusion from the latest national squad offered him a chance to enjoy a break from training. 

However, it wasn’t all about relaxing for the striker as he jumped into the passenger seat of a concept Aston Martin driven by F1 commentator and former Williams, Benetton and McLaren driver Martin Brundle. He also got time to catch up with drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen and shared his experiences with fans via his social media pages.

It is not sure whether the Blues’ star’s exclusion from the Argentine national team is a permanent one; after all, Lionel Messi, Angel Di Maria and Gonzalo Higuain were also left out of the squad for the games against Guatemala and Colombia. But at 31 years of age, a break from international duty could benefit City as they seek to get the best out of their most prolific striker.

Caretaker manager Lionel Scaloni gave City boss Pep Guardiola a further boost by leaving Nicolas Otamendi out of his squad. Scaloni took over after Jorge Sampaoli was relieved of his duties following a disastrous World Cup campaign that saw the Albiceleste dumped out at the round of 16 after scraping through the group stage.

Aguero bagged 30 goals in all competitions for the Citizens last term and has netted 204 times in 297 appearances since making the switch from Atletico Madrid eight years ago. He has made five appearances for the national team in 2018, scoring three times but was left on the bench in the knockout game against France. He came on after 66 minutes and bagged a late consolation goal before Sampaoli’s men were finally sent packing.

He has indicated he will keep playing for his country as long as selected but from a City fan’s perspective, the less he has to travel and play for the national team, the better. Interim boss Lionel Scaloni is in line to keep the job full-time and may decide to turn to more youthful options as he looks to build a squad capable of challenging for the world crown in four years’ time. Aguero will be 35 by the time the next World Cup is played and is unlikely to be part of those long-term plans.

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