Pep Guardiola praises Rico Lewis and names De Bruyne as a ‘model player’
Kevin De Bruyne was the centre of focus after Manchester City’s triumph over Liverpool in the last 16 of the Carabao Cup on the 22nd of December, 2022.
The City playmaker put in an outstanding performance as he provided two significant assists in the match. His return from the World Cup was quicker than expected following Belgium‘s exit in the group stage of the tournament.
Who thought he will come back in a good mood ready to pick up from where he left off? Perhaps a few. First, his cross for Erling Haaland got the Blues up and running before he outdid that with the beautiful delivery for Nathan Ake’s winner in the second half.
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Speaking in a post-match interview, Pep Guardiola did not hold back his praises for De Bruyne and further named him as a ‘model player’.
“He just needs sometimes to find the right fire inside of himself, you know, to be a little bit, I would say, I don’t know, grumpy or upset to play his best.
“He had to put the energy inside of him. When this happens, what a player. The runs, the fight, assists, score goals. He is a model player,” said the City boss.
However, the spotlight was not only on the man of the match – Kevin De Bruyne as the starting XI included youngsters – Cole Palmer and Rico Lewis who put in a magnificent performance.
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Rico Lewis broke into Manchester City‘s first team at a young age and has since then been incredible to an extent that Pep Guardiola trusts him to take up Kyle Walker‘s role.
He was named on City‘s bench for the first time in Manchester City‘s first game of the 2022–23 season, and made his Premier League debut a week later, on 13 August 2022, against Bournemouth, coming on as an 82nd minute substitute for Kyle Walker.
Lewis made his debut in the UEFA Champions League this season and went on to score a goal which inspired Man City‘s 3 – 1 comeback victory over Sevilla. The young defender finished with the confidence of a veteran forward as he rifled his shot home to bring City level in their final group game of the tournament. Being only 18, the English football prodigy has got a long way to go but he is still exuding talent and class just in the early stages of his career.
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The Manchester City boss also confirmed his plans to include the youngster in the first team more often and further expressed how delighted he is with Lewis‘ ability to adapt and hopes to help him reach his full potential.
“Today we had the privilege to almost announce that this guy will have a big decade and will be an absolutely incredible player for Manchester City for the next years because he’s so intelligent, so humble, understands everything in one second and applies everything – he’s so so clever,” said a delighted Pep Guardiola.