Nicolas Otamendi says Phil Foden and Brahim Diaz are in the Manchester City first-team squad on merit.
The Blues youngsters came off the bench to make their Champions League debuts on Tuesday as City beat Feyenoord to top Group F with a game to spare.
It was a clear indication of Pep Guardiola’s faith in the pair and Otamendi says they will receive all the support they need to flourish from the rest of the senior players.
“If they’ve got here it’s because they’ve earned it,” Otamendi said.
“They work during the week in order to get a chance from the manager.
“If they keep being humble and working hard, they’ll get more chances.
“We’ll support them so they feel comfortable”.
Meanwhile, Otamendi has hailed City’s squad depth in the wake of John Stones’ hamstring injury.
The England defender, who has been superb all season, pulled up in the win over Leicester at the weekend and looks set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
But Otamendi says City can cope in his absence.
“John’s injury is a shame, but that’s something that usually happens,” he said.
“Luckily, we got Vincent [Kompany] back. He played 90 minutes the other day. That’s important.
“There’s also [Eliaquim] Mangala, and me.
“We always try to be there for the manager and work hard to help the team”.