Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has warned Captain Vincent Kompany he is not guaranteed a place in the starting eleven when he returns from injury.
Kompany is set to return to first team action after having surgery on his thigh in May, and has already returned to training with the first team.
In his absence, however, Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones have formed an impressive partnership at the heart of the City defence, a development which could see the Belgian become a bit-part player if Guardiola decides not to alter the team setting.
The former Bayern Munich boss is insisting players will only be selected on merit, a statement which means Kompany’s role as captain is unlikely to be considered if and when he is selected.
“They have to compete with each other, and we’ll see on the pitch what the best for that game is.
“That’s the best way to arrive in April or May with a chance to win titles. We need the players competing with each other. They have to know if they don’t play good, there’s another one beside me and the next time he’s going to play.
“That’s the only way to arrive at the end of the season — fighting. I need Vincent, because I know his quality. I need him to put pressure on John Stones, Nico Otamendi, Kolarov – all of them.”