Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says Yaya Toure’s love for football reminds him of an amateur player.
The Catalan boss has been hugely impressed with Toure’s quality since the midfielder forced his way into the side on a regular basis – but believes his love of the game is what sets him apart.
The Ivorian, in his seventh season at City, is widely considered to be one of the greatest players in the club’s history.
And his recent performances have not only reaffirmed his status as one of the Premier League’s all-time great midfielders, they’ve left Guardiola purring.
“I spoke about the quality of Yaya, there is no doubt about that,” he said. “Since I arrived here I said many, many times so I’m delighted about his performance.
“Yaya has a quality that is difficult to find today. He loves football, he loves to play - he’s like an amateur.
“He comes here to enjoy, always wants to train, always wants the ball, always wants to play. I love that.
“I like to play with guys like him. At the end it becomes a profession and you have to do that but he is like an amateur in those terms.
“He is really fit, the weight is perfect and the situation with Fernandinho and losing a lot of players meant he was so important for his personality and he helps us with his buildup and so on.”
City face Swansea on Sunday looking to build on their impressive win over West Ham on Wednesday.
City tore Slaven Bilic’s side apart, winning 4-0, with Gabriel Jesus opening his goalscoring account for the club.
Guardiola is pleased with City’s current form but says finding proper consistency between now and the end of the season is the only way his side can catch leaders Chelsea.
“Yeah, consistency is the important target for the next round,” he said. “The last three games I think we were there, especially in the Premier League against Tottenham, we made a huge performance against one of the best teams in the Premier League.
“I am so delighted when I see Tottenham playing - and we made a good performance.
“In London, against West Ham, we did it again but that’s not enough.
“We need consistency to win many, many games in a row so in the end to be in a position to qualify for the Champions League and, if Chelsea drop some points, to be there.”
Jesus’ form since arriving at the club has been impressive and on Wednesday he was selected ahead of Sergio Aguero, who remained on the bench.
Guardiola, though, says he can see the two of them playing together in the same side, with Jesus easily able to play in a position wide on the left.
“In Brazil, Gabriel played on the left side," Guardiola said. “He likes to play on the left, with the movement in the diagonals, like he was doing in the last games.
“Both can play together because Gabriel is not just one in behind, he is good in the box, he is a fighter.
“I love the players who go backwards and help the team and show me that desire to keep the ball, to attack again."