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What the Media Says

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Koeman: I knew Pep was special from the start

THE APPRENTICE: Pep (left) was taken under Koeman's wing

THE APPRENTICE: Pep (left) was taken under Koeman's wing

With City facing Everton on Saturday it was inevitable that Ronald Koeman would be asked about his apprentice Pep Guardiola.

The Dutch star was handed the task of nurturing the young Catalan at Barcelona under the instruction of the legendary Johan Cruyff.

In a fascinating insight to how Pep was determined to absorb all he could from both Koeman and the Barca boss, Eurosport write: “Even Ronald Koeman was somewhat taken aback - and impressed.

“It was early 1990 and Barcelona manager Johan Cruyff had instructed the Dutch sweeper to take a new young academy graduate under his wing, and teach him a bit. Koeman was always willing to do so on the provision that a kid was actually interested and willing to learn, but he was surprised at just how interested this one was.

“A teenage Pep Guardiola, who was now Koeman’s roommate, immediately began peppering him with very pointed and sophisticated questions. These weren’t general queries about the team’s style, or little things he should do in his position. These were very forensic discussions about the finest details of the philosophy, what really made it work.

‘He wanted to know everything,’ Koeman has said. ‘More than any other player, he wanted to know about one-touch football, about positional play, one touch in small spaces. He loved the way Cruyff wanted to play with Barcelona.’

Well worth a read in full.

Elsewhere, Sergio Aguero may been unable to put a foot wrong with City, but for Argentina, it seems not all is going according to plan.

The Daily Star report: “Aguero has been on fire for City, scoring 11 goals in eight appearances under new boss Pep Guardiola.

“But he missed a penalty as struggling Argentina suffered a humiliating defeat at home to Paraguay on Tuesday.

“Asked if he would be surprised to be dropped by his country, Aguero said: ‘No, because I’m not doing things right.

‘If I’m not in the next squad, I’ll take it in the best way. There are no excuses. Things didn’t come off for me.

‘We’ve got to lift our heads. These things happen and we have to turn it round.’

In other news: Real Madrid plan Bale and Ronaldo extensions


On life at City Kun added: ‘Pep wants me right as a nine, but then he gives me more freedom too. He asks me to move all around the attack.

‘He is very picky about everything. It’s good. The good thing is that I’m getting used to him and automatically going straight in to pressing the centre-backs.’

Meanwhile, John Stones’ international defensive partner believes the City star is in for a glittering career for both club and country.

The Mirror report: “Gary Cahill has spoken of his pride at reaching 50 caps - and tipped John Stones to earn twice that number.

“Chelsea defender Cahill, 30, helped preserve a clean sheet in Slovenia alongside Manchester City’s rising star on Tuesday to keep England top of their World Cup qualifying group.

“And he believes 22-year-old Stones is on course to establish himself as a mainstay for the Three Lions over the next decade as he progresses at club level under the tutelage of the Blues' new boss Pep Guardiola.

“Cahill said: ‘John is a top player, and I’ve played with a lot of other centre-backs.

‘He’s moved to Manchester City and he’s going to be under great guidance there and be playing in great, massive game s. He's going to keep progressing and he’s a massive talent.’

Continuing with the praise, Everton’s Gerard Deulofeu fondly recalls the time he worked with Pep Guardiola at Barca and the effect the manager had on the young Spaniard.

Sportsmole write: “The Barcelona academy product, who joined the Toffees on a permanent deal last summer, was handed his Camp Nou debut under Guardiola as an 18-year-old in 2011.

“Deulofeu was unable to truly make the breakthrough at Barcelona and is now making waves in the Premier League but, on the eve of Saturday's clash with Guardiola's new side, the winger admits that Everton will have to be at their very best to return from the Etihad Stadium with a positive result.

‘Every year, he played the same in Barcelona, Bayern Munich and now Manchester City. It's an amazing style and if you have specific players, the players you want, that style is the best. We know we go to an amazing pitch and difficult stadium but I think we can take the three points because we have a good, strong team.

‘I'm confident. I have good memories because I stayed a long time in my career at Barcelona and Pep gave me my debut in the first division.”

Finally, former City favourite Gareth Barry says David Silva has been the best player he’s played alongside in his career.

Talking to the Liverpool Echo, Barry said: “I loved playing with David Silva at City.

“When I received the ball, every time I looked up and he seemed to be acres of space that you could find him in.  So I really enjoyed playing with Silva.”

And that’s all for today – check back in regularly on our City Now feed for breaking news throughout the day…

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Where to watch: City v Everton

Pep Guardiola faces former teammate, Ronald Koeman's Everton on Saturday, and here are the TV channels you'll need to tune into, to watch from around the world.

Find out which TV to watch Saturday's clash in your country.