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Manchester City’s options in the absence of Sterling

Manchester City will be without England forward Raheem Sterling for Sunday’s Premier League clash with West Ham.

Here, the PA news agency looks at some of the options manager Pep Guardiola has to cover his absence.

Bernardo Silva

Bernardo Silva can operate on the left

Bernardo Silva can operate on the left (Adam Davy/PA)

There have been many occasions when Sterling and Silva have operated in the same side, often with the England international playing to the left and the Portuguese to the right. In this instance Silva would take up Sterling’s position on the left. Riyad Mahrez, as he has for a lot of the campaign, would provide balance on the right in a fairly seamless change.

Phil Foden

Phil Foden is hoping for an opportunity

Phil Foden is hoping for an opportunity (Martin Rickett/PA)

The highly-rated teenager continues to wait patiently for opportunities at the Etihad Stadium and this could open up a spot. He is not a natural replacement for a forward like Sterling, however. Bringing in the youngster would probably require someone else – a versatile performer such as Kevin De Bruyne for instance – switching position to accommodate him.

Gabriel Jesus

Gabriel Jesus provides a different option

Gabriel Jesus provides a different option (Mike Egerton/PA)

Sterling’s absence could also give City chance to experiment with a different shape and bring in a second out-and-out striker. Sergio Aguero and Jesus rarely operate together as twin strikers but they were used in tandem with notable success in last month’s 6-1 win at Aston Villa and it might be worth trying again. City will want to have a number of options at their disposal when their Champions League tie with Real Madrid comes around.

Leroy Sane

City have badly missed Leroy Sane this season

City have badly missed Leroy Sane this season (Adam Davy/PA)

The German winger, who has been out since suffering a knee injury in the Community Shield, is hoping to return to action in the near future. Sunday may come too soon but if Sterling’s absence lasts a little while, Sane would be an obvious choice for the left-hand side.