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Pep: Egan-Riley debut an example of first team opportunities

Pep Guardiola believes CJ Egan-Riley’s Champions League debut demonstrates the pathway available to the next generation of talent at Manchester City.

The 19-year-old made his senior European bow against Sporting CP as City secured passage to the quarter-finals with a goalless draw.

Egan-Riley, who captains City’s Elite Development Squad, played the full 90 minutes under the Etihad lights, with Guardiola heaping praise on the youngster for a mature display.

Indeed, the City boss believes the defender’s progression, as well as those of fellow academy graduates Phil Foden and Cole Palmer in recent years, will serve as an example to those waiting in the wings for a chance to impress.

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However, the boss qualified that those opportunities have to be earned through continued hard work and dedication.

“They know it. Phil Foden is a clear example. Cole Palmer is unfortunately injured but he was already involved with us and there are other players coming up,” Guardiola explained ahead of our Premier League clash with Crystal Palace.

“You have to work hard and earn it. I am not going to give presents.

“What happened with CJ was an exceptional position because we have a lot of problems in the back four with suspensions and injuries.

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“(But) He took his opportunity and as a defender he has huge value.

“He is not the fastest or tallest, but he doesn't make mistakes. With the ball he is always correct. He judges it perfectly.

“That’s why the academy is there. When we need them, and they’ve earned their opportunity it will be given.”

Hear Pep Guardiola’s press conference in full via the video above…

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