MANCHESTER City could name five international stars in their starting XI for Friday night's FA Cup third-round tie against Swindon Town.

A Covid outbreak at the Etihad Stadium means manager Pep Guardiola will miss the hotly-anticipated fixture, as will up to 20 other members of the City set-up - although only seven of these are said to be players.

In a report published by the Manchester Evening News, City writer Jack Flintham has predicted the XI he thinks could start at the County Ground on Friday night - and it's good news for fans of players with tiny shinpads and long hair...

According to Fitcham, it's a pretty safe bet that Zack Steffen will start in goal for City.

Fitcham goes on to predict that the back four will be made up of two members of England's Euro 2020 squad.

He said: "Kyle Walker is likely to feature for his first start since the beginning of December with John Stones, Luke Mbete and Josh Wilson-Esbrand making up the back four."

Part of City's three-man midfield should feature promising talent James McAtee as well as German international Ilkay Gundogan.

Fitcham believes Jack Grealish will start the game as he looks to impress his boss from afar following a spell out of the team, as will Brazilian striker, Gabriel Jesus.


Steffen; Walker, Stones, Mbete, Wilson-Esbrand; Lavia, Gundogan, McAtee; Palmer, Jesus, Grealish.


Ward; Kesler-Hayden, Odimayo, Conroy, Crichlow, Iandolo; Reed, Williams, Gladwin; McKirdy, Simpson.