Pep Guardiola used a cordial birthday phone call to Netherlands boss Ronaldo Koeman to make a cheeky request about one of his Manchester City players.
Guardiola has already seen two of his City squad pick up concerning injuries, and had sent his players off on international duty telling them to look after themselves to return to the Etihad in the best shape to continue their title race.
Key to their recent form has been Nathan Ake, who has emerged as first choice at left-back in the absence of Joao Cancelo. Ake started in the Netherlands' heavy defeat to France, and Guardiola is clearly concerned about the fitness of his versatile defender.
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Speaking ahead of Holland's next clash against Gibraltar, Koeman has revealed that Guardiola called him this week to offer birthday wishes, while also dropping in a hint over his use of Ake.
"I got a call from my friend Pep on my birthday this week," Koeman said.
"Pep wished me happy birthday, but very quickly he also asked me if I could be careful with Nathan Ake because he needs him - and I can understand why.
"Nathan is the absolute example of a player who has developed himself to top level. He has done so well for himself and has become a really important player for both the Netherlands and Manchester City. I am proud of Nathan. He is so important and is such a great defender now."
City have been rocked with Erling Haaland's groin injury, which leaves him a doubt to face Liverpool at the weekend, while Phil Foden will miss that fixture after undergoing surgery to remove his appendix on Sunday.