The highly-successful manager feels that one of the Silva’s from his team is one of the very best… and it’s not the one you expected!
It’s very simple, isn’t it? Compiling a list of the Premier League’s best players, maybe event the best three players? There are high chances that you will first choose those who find the back of the net with unerring regularity, like Harry Kane, Mo Salah and Sergio Aguero, who could be clubbed with a David De Gea or a Virgil Van Dijk. But according to Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, there is one player very few people would think of who deserves to be part of such a list.
The Spanish gaffer seems to rate Bernardo Silva very highly, and feels that he is currently one of the best players in English football. The 24-year-old Portugal international has, according to the City coach, been one of the club’s top performers this season and deserves more credit. The playmaker has played all but one of the holders’ Premier League matches this season, accruing more game time than even Raheem Sterling, Aguero or his much higher-regarded namesake David. Pep even went on to claim that his man should be in the running for the Player of the Year award.
“He is the biggest star already,” Guardiola said. “He has everything, he’s a lovely person, he never makes a bad face if he plays five minutes. He’s the guy who’s the most beloved in our team, he’s one of the most talented players I’ve ever seen, he can play three of four positions. He knows when he doesn’t play good it doesn’t matter, he runs the most.
“You cannot play every three games at the top level but you can run and run. Maybe this season he’s one of the two, three best players in the Premier League. In assists, goals, how he celebrates the goals. He’s a joy for a manager, I’m an incredible lucky guy to have Bernardo in my hands and enjoy him in my training sessions and games. Portugal are fortunate to have him. He’s a lovely guy. I love him.”
City are gearing to play FC Schalke in their Champions League round of 16 first leg, and the German team’s coach Domenico Tedesco has attempted to reduce pressure on his players by claiming that City are one of the favourites to win the European Cup. “There is nothing like a knockout match in the Champions League against a team that is one of the best in the world,” he said ahead of the first leg tie on Wednesday night. “We’ve worked a lot to be able to play such a game and have fun. Logically, we see a chance of winning, but of course we aren’t the favourites. “Manchester City are a very strong team, we will need a red-letter day and have to give it our all.”
Bernardo took some time to get going in his first full season in England, and injuries played their part, but this season, the Portugal international has been phenomenal, sometimes putting in astonishing displays to help City stay in the hunt to retain their Premier League title. He has more than earned the rights to be named as one the league’s finest, and has already, at least in the eyes of a few, taken on the mantle of succeeding his more experienced and older namesake David. It remains to be seen how much his all-action, all-running style affects his fitness and play as the season progresses, but for now, he is one of the first names on Pep’s teamsheet for sure.