Manchester City players celebrate scoring a goal. Credit: Getty.
Pep Guardiola has said Bernardo Silva is ‘undroppable’ at present given his excellent form at Manchester City.
The No.20 has arguably been the club’s most impressive player so far this term, having mainly played in a slightly deeper midfield role.
Silva - who scored last time out against Manchester United - has started in City’s last 10 league games and has played in all four Champions League matches so far in 2021/22.
Ahead of Sunday’s clash with Everton, which Silva is likely to start - even more so, given the news Kevin De Bruyne has tested positive for Covid-19 and will miss the visit of the Toffees - Guardiola outlined what makes Silva such a supreme talent.
“Now he’s undroppable, you’re right, because of what he’s doing on the pitch,” the Catalan responded to a question, in the second part of Friday’s press conference. “Sometimes Bernardo didn’t play last season because he wasn’t undroppable. He was not at that level.
“The year we won the league with 98 points, he was the best. I think he is coming back. What he has done this season so far, it’s difficult to find a player like him in Europe, in the world.
“But the season is so long and I know tiredness is coming. Normally it happens [even though] he’s amazingly strong. He’s a huge competitor and a lovely guy. He’s a guy who will talk wherever, he’s a funny person, he’s loved. I have the feeling now that he’s happy here with his personal life. Hopefully he can do an exceptional season with us again.
‘He’s always at that level’
“He can play six positions: holding-midfielder, attacking-midfielder, winger, striker, false nine and the other winger,” Guardiola continued.
“He can play anywhere because he’s so smart, so intelligent and intuitive. He’s a player who knows exactly what is going on. Every action in the game, the right decision has been made. He can do it, he does it.
“[That’s why] he’s played the games like he has in Anfield, Old Trafford and in Stamford Bridge, playing in Brighton, one of the toughest games of the season - Leicester, always he plays at that level. Hopefully he can be fit, hungry and competitive to continue to give us what he is doing.
Cancelo’s best attribute
Silva isn’t the only Portuguese star who’s thriving at the Etihad. So too, is Joao Cancelo, who registered four assists in two games prior to the international break.
Guardiola was asked how Cancelo compares to the great Philipp Lahm, who the 50-year-old coached at Bayern Munich, and tended to play in an unconventionally central role while operating at full-back.
“Joao, since he’s arrived, has played good, played at a high level because he has one huge quality,” Guardiola explained. “I’ll tell you: he loves to play football; he likes training sessions, he would play football 24 hours a day every single day.
“When you find a player like this - Riyad [Mahrez] is like this, Phil [Foden] is like this - wow, you have a diamond in your hands. I see them like little boys playing in the street. This is why Joao has been consistent in his game.”
“Right now he is playing like Philipp when we were together,” he added. “In that position, the full-back being a little bit inside, not just overlapping, Philipp Lahm is the best player I have ever seen in my whole life.
“Never have I seen a full-back going inside, moving [into] the pockets close to the holding-midfielder. And from there, I never have seen a player like him. But, for example, Dani Alves should play in that position. He could play it, definitely he has the quality. Joao definitely [does too]. Like Alek [Kolarov], like Fabian Delph.
“What I’m so delighted [about] in that position, after one or two years, Kyle [Walker] is improving a lot. His last game was one of the best games he’s played for us since we are together. Because he’s another type of player, [more] physical. Being inside you need special qualities and Kyle is improving a lot.”