Why Raheem Sterling is missing from Manchester City squad for Brighton clash

Manchester City star Raheem Sterling is struggling with a sore back (Picture: Getty)

Raheem Sterling has been left out of Manchester City’s squad to take on Brighton as a precaution as he has been suffering with soreness in his back.

The 26-year-old forward has struggled for regular playing time this season and admitted he would be open to a new challenge away from City earlier this month.

News of Sterling’s absence fuelled speculation he could be set for the exit door at the Etihad, with the England international making just three starts in the Premier League since the start of the campaign.

But City were quick to confirm on their official website that Sterling had not made the trip to the south coast as he simply ‘isn’t fully fit’.

Pep Guardiola has made two changes to his team that beat Club Brugge on Tuesday, with Ilkay Gundogan replacing Kevin De Bruyne and taking over the captain’s armband.

Meanwhile, Gabriel Jesus has been recalled to City’s starting XI in place of Riyad Mahrez at the Amex Stadium.

Sterling had been expected to travel after playing the full 90 minutes in the champions’ 2-0 victory over Burnley last weekend.

The former Liverpool star also came off the bench in midweek as City romped to a 5-1 win over Club Brugge in the Champions League.

Asked what he expects from Brighton, City head coach told Guardiola told Sky Sports: ‘After five minutes you will see it!

‘Man to man they are so aggressive, good quality in the final third and really good principles.’

Sterling started against Burnley last weekend (Picture: Getty)

The Spaniard added: ‘I have been five years so happy. So, so happy! So I don’t have any complaints about the team in this period since I am in England.

‘Seasons always have their highs and lows, good moments and bad moments so our game at Club Brugge, for example, was exceptional, but Burnley was not perfect. It’s normal.

‘If these guys would have one game a week then we’d be better team, but we play every three days for 11 months so always you have a little bit up and down.

‘It’s important to be consistent and create more than the opponent. This is the target and today we have to adjust for the way they play.’

City sit third in English top flight ahead of tonight’s clash, five points adrift of league leaders Chelsea.

Brighton boss Graham Potter has made one change to his side that played out a goalless draw with bottom-placed Norwich in their last Premier League outing, with Solly March coming in for Shane Duffy.

The Seagulls have had an outstanding start to the season and sit fourth in the division with just two fewer points than their opponents this evening.

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