Gabriel Jesus made his full Premier League debut on Wednesday at West Ham. Dan Burke takes a closer look at his man-of-the-match performance and ponders what the future holds for Manchester City's newest star.
“I came here to help. The adaptation process is going great, my teammates are really helping me very much, the club is really helping me so I can stay focused on football which I really like and it’s great.”
Those were Gabriel Jesus’ words after he scored one, assisted another and picked up the man of the match award in City’s scintillating 4-0 victory away at West Ham on Wednesday. He came here to help, and boy is he helping.
Few expected the Brazilian to have such an instantaneous impact on English football yet from the moment he almost created a goal with his first touches in a blue shirt after coming off the bench against Tottenham Hotspur, City fans knew they had a very special talent on their hands.
Coming to the Premier League for the first time can often be a culture shock for even the most seasoned professionals yet after just three appearances, the 19-year-old already looks like he’s been here for years and he’s only likely to improve with experience.
He has swiftly formed an almost telepathic relationship with the likes of Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling - and the three youngsters combined to devastating effect at the London Stadium. This, you sense, could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
1 - Gabriel Jesus is the first player to both score and assist in his first @PremierLeague start for Man City. Intervention.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 1, 2017
“They are very sharp,” said Kevin De Bruyne, who was the beneficiary of Jesus’s first Premier League assist on Wednesday.
“I just thought at half time that these guys are so quick and it’s even almost impossible for us to follow them in midfield but obviously they bring great energy, they’re very young so they have a bright future and luckily they are with us.”
Pep Guardiola was equally effusive. “Gabriel Jesus’ input for 10 minutes against Spurs was good, then he played well against Crystal Palace and again tonight,” he said. “He is a fighter and is helping a lot with the press, he is clever with the ball and has a great instinct in the box.”
It’s important not to get too carried away when It comes to young players who still have so much developing left to do and it’s up to City’s coaching staff, Gabriel’s teammates and even the fans to ensure his feet stay planted firmly to the ground. Thankfully, humility is one of the many gifts he's blessed with in abundance.
But it’s difficult not to feel a great sense of excitement about this most precocious of prodigies and what he could potentially achieve at this club.
He’ll turn 20 in two months’ time yet he’s already won the Brazilian Serie A, an Olympic gold medal, been named Brazil’s player of the year and is worshipped in a country which has an illustrious history of producing some of the game’s most dazzling stars.
The future is indeed bright for this jogador bonito and now he’s opened his City account, we can look forward to many, many more deposits where that one came from.