Vincent Kompany is very worried by his latest injury lay-off, Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini has revealed.
The City captain has struggled with persistent calf problems this season and is expected to be out until at least the end of February.
Kompany returned to action as a substitute against Sunderland on Boxing Day only to have to leave the pitch nine minutes later.
The defender has started just eight Premier League games this season, and the fact City have conceded one goal in those matches indicates his importance to the team.
The cause of Kompany’s breakdowns is as yet a mystery, with the 29-year-old consulting different specialists in an effort to find an answer.
Pellegrini said: “He is very concerned, which is why he’s trying to recover as soon as he can. He’s doing all different examinations to try and understand the reasons why he is having so many injuries.
“Of course he wants to play. He is a very professional player. He is the first one who is very worried about his situation, which is why he is going everywhere to ask different specialists what is the reason.
“I think that is the professional way to work when you have problems that don’t allow you to play in your normal way. I think you must find every way to see if you can find a solution.
“Maybe there’s not a solution or maybe this can be his last injury but I think he has a very good attitude and he is doing everything he can to return as soon as he can.”
Pellegrini accepts it is not ideal to have a captain that is unable to influence matches but he is not thinking of replacing Kompany.
The City boss said: “I think if he is the captain it is because he deserves to be the captain. Of course, it’s better to have a captain that is always (playing).
“But I think he deserves to have a lot of support at this time and not try to criticise by taking the captaincy away.
“I think that as a captain it’s better to be in front of your team every game but you can also work a lot during the week as a captain when you are injured.”