The centre-back has been a long-term absentee for the Premier League champions but his coach hopes to see him back in action soon

Pep Guardiola has been heartened to see Aymeric Laporte’s return to full training but urged patience over the defender’s first-team comeback. 

Manchester City have been without Laporte since August, when he suffered a knee injury against Brighton and Hove Albion.

The France centre-back, who joined from Athletic Bilbao in January 2018, required surgery but is coming to the end of his recovery. 

While his coach is not sure when the 25-year-old will be ready to return to Premier League action, he is happy to see him back in training.

“He’s training every day, he feels good after training and the day after he feels good, that is good news,” Guardiola said ahead of City’s trip to Aston Villa on Sunday. 

“I don’t know when he’ll be ready to play some games. He needs a little bit more time but he moves really well.

“The operation was good. We wait for the doctors to say he can start to play.”

Guardiola, who allayed fears over an injury to Kevin De Bruyne following his substitution in the 3-1 Carabao Cup semi-final first-leg win over Manchester United, is also eager to have Leroy Sane available again.

The Germany star was heavily linked with a move to Bayern Munich before he sustained his injury in the Community Shield against Liverpool.

Speculation about his future persists, though the Bundesliga champions have ruled out making a bid for him in the January transfer window.

However, Guardiola just wants him back in the team, along with Laporte.

“When we need to make movements in behind, Leroy is the best and of course Aymeric for being left footed, playing the left side and how good and how quick he settled in this league since he arrived,” said Guardiola.

“Of course it’s important for us, we will have to respect the process and when both will be ready, I will have to be thinking about to use them, we use them when I believe they must be used.”

City are third in the Premier League after 21 matches and sit 14 points behind unbeaten leaders Liverpool, who have a game in hand.

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