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Guardiola hails ‘born leader’ Dias

Pep Guardiola believes Football Writers’ Player of the Year, Ruben Dias, is a natural leader both on and off the field.

The 24-year-old is the first defender to be awarded the accolade in 32 years, chosen by a 400-strong FWA membership panel at the end of each season.

Since signing for City in September, the Portuguese international has made a huge contribution in our march towards a third Premier League title in four seasons, offering a consistent and commanding presence at the heart of the defence.

But Guardiola insisted that Dias’ leadership qualities transcend the football pitch, and that they also bely his tender age.

The City boss also admitted to being slightly taken aback by the defender’s professionalism and character when he first joined the Club.

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“It was unexpected honestly, we knew about his quality but you never know what will happen,” Guardiola conceded in his pre-match press conference ahead of our clash with Everton.

“The manager doesn’t give you the role of a leader, it comes from inside in a natural way, if it’s not real he won’t be it and people realise it.

“At his age, it’s natural, it comes from his dad and mum, it comes from birth, all the mates and managers at Benfica helped him to grow.

“And I’m pretty sure he’s a guy who thinks he can improve, the feeling comes every day in training sessions, how he prepares in the gym, water departments, massages, the way he eats.

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“He is always thinking ‘I can do better’, that’s why he will have success.

“When the defender plays just by himself it’s a problem, (but) he’s always thinking about his partner in central defence, holding midfield, even the wingers.

“He’s so generous, he's completely professional, 24 hours he's thinking about football.

“He's shown he can lead. In the bad moments he's always ready to help.

“He will improve, he listens, he admits bad moments and enjoys and shares good moments with his mates.”

Check out the video above to hear Pep Guardiola's thoughts in full...

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