Leroy Sane needs time to develop confidence in his right knee before returning to match action for Manchester City after a six-month lay-off, Pep Guardiola has said.
The Germany winger suffered anterior cruciate ligament damage in the Community Shield clash against Liverpool in August, forcing him out of the game and ending talk of an imminent move to Bayern Munich.
Bayern reportedly remains keen on Sane, with the 24-year-old having impressed for Schalke, City and at the international level over the last five years.
City is determined to be careful with a player who is a valuable asset, and although Sane may come into contention for first-team football in the coming weeks, Guardiola will not rush the process.
It seems inconceivable he would be involved against West Ham on Sunday, but Sane may come into the equation for games against Leicester City and Real Madrid later this month.
“He’s started training with us,” Guardiola said in a news conference.
“When you have an injury, especially like this one for six months … you need to recover the tempo, the rhythm, the confidence in your body, in your knee, don’t think about the injury.
“It needs time. It’s not like an ankle, for example, or a muscular injury. The injury to the knee always needs time.
“He needs weeks, [what is] important is the surgery was perfect and he’s recovering incredibly well, and he will come back hopefully stronger than before, but right now he needs a little bit more time.”