💉 🇩🇿 Mahrez cleared to play after doping test, Guardiola glowing in praise of Rodri
💉 🇩🇿 Mahrez cleared to play after doping test, Guardiola glowing in praise of Rodri
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💉 🇩🇿 Mahrez cleared to play after doping test, Guardiola glowing in praise of Rodri

Riyad Mahrez has been cleared to play for Manchester City after undergoing a doping test in the wake of his absence from last weekend's Community Shield.

Speaking after the penalty shoot-out victory over Liverpool at Wembley, City manager Pep Guardiola explained Mahrez was missing from the City squad because they could not be certain whether he had inadvertently ingested any banned substances while on international duty with Algeria at the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.

Mahrez could return to City's squad as soon as this afternoon as they open up their title defence away to West Ham. 

"He had a little surgery after the African Cup on his nose so he could breathe better, it's a normal situation," Guardiola said.

"The doctor - I don't think he was from the national team - didn't send the necessary [paperwork], that was the only reason why [he didn't play]. We didn't have it in the right moment.

"But after the last week, anti-doping [agents] have made the test. Everything is clear and fine. He can play.

"Our doctors came to me and said they did not know exactly [what he had taken]. Every time you take something you have to inform the club and make the lists. Everyone knows it. We pass one or two controls every month here. 
"We didn't have it in that moment, he did it in Algeria. So it was a precaution, we had to be careful. It was better not to use him, that was the reason why. 

"After this week, they came and tested him and he's ready for tomorrow."

Mahrez's prospect of playing time may have increased with the new of a long-term injury to winger Leroy Sane who sustained anterior cruciate ligament damage in the Community Shield clash with Liverpool. It's a chance for the Algerian to live up to his hefty price tag, which saw him hold the title of Man City's most expensive signing in history. However, the signing of Rodri from Atletico Madrid has eclipsed the fee that City paid to Leicester for Mahrez.

Rodri's £63million switch has been heralded as a long-term solution to replace the ageing Fernandinho, and Guardiola is backing his countryman to make a swift impact in the Premier League."When you think of defining the holding midfielder, he's a typical, typical holding midfielder," Guardiola added.

"Like Michael Carrick, like [Sergio] Busquets, [the] holding midfielder. You are thinking of what is best for the team. He doesn't play to make a good performance, he plays to make it better for the others. No tattoos, no ponytails. Perfect. Normal. That is a holding midfielder.

"He's young, strong, helps us with the long balls, he's so intelligent. He learned at Atletico Madrid with [Diego] Simeone. The work he did with Simeone is going to help us a lot this season.

"I have the feeling. Sometimes, players need more time but, after a week or 10 days, we realised that guy will be nice for us."

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