Pep Guardiola feels Jadon Sancho is unlikely to return to Manchester City while he is manager.
Sancho, 18, shone on his England debut against Croatia last week having made big strides since leaving City for Borussia Dortmund last year.
His emergence has seen him linked with a big-money move back to a Premier League club but, having decided to quit City, Guardiola would not expect him back at the Etihad Stadium.
The City manager said: “I don’t know, in football you never say ‘no’, but I don’t know. I think when he decided to move on from here it is because he doesn’t want to be here. When he doesn’t want to be here I think he’s not looking forward to coming back here.
“That is what I think right now. Maybe in the future – new club, new managers – but I don’t know.”
Sancho left City in an £8million deal. City are thought to have negotiated a first-refusal option with Dortmund on the player should they be willing to match a bid from another club.
Losing the highly-rated Sancho last year was considered a huge blow to the club’s much-vaunted Academy, but Guardiola does not feel his departure should give cause for concern.
He said: “We know what we have done with Jadon. We did absolutely everything and he decided to move on to Germany so ‘all the best’. He’s doing really well.
“He’s started his career and hopefully he can achieve what he was looking for. It’s a good sign for England that players are going there because it’s important for the future. I’m glad he’s playing well.”
City host Burnley on Saturday in a game that could see Kevin De Bruyne return to action after two months out with a knee injury.
The Belgium playmaker is well ahead of schedule in his recovery and has been back in training since before the recent international break.
Guardiola said: “I don’t know if he’s able to play 90 minutes but he trained really well the last two weeks, with no pain and he’s ready to be part of the group.
“He’s so important for us. When a player is out, I like it when they’re back to make us stronger. With Kevin (there is) no doubt how important he is for us.”
Guardiola expects the Clarets to prove difficult opposition.
He said: “(It has) always (been) a tough game since I came here. They are masters of the long ball, second ball. What they do, they do it really well.”
Raheem Sterling, who has often been criticised on international duty in the past, scored twice in England’s victory over Spain on Monday. Guardiola feels he is learning how to cope better with the pressure.
He said: “His mentality is stronger. He was a good player before and after but, the most important thing is, he knows that at 23 he can still get better.”