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In focus: Bernardo Silva

SILVA STREAK: Bernardo has made a superb start to the new season with Manchester City

SILVA STREAK: Bernardo has made a superb start to the new season with Manchester City

When it comes to the impact of Bernardo Silva on Manchester City, arguably the most exciting aspect about the midfielder is that he is getting better all the time.

The 23-year-old has already made a huge contribution at the club since joining City from Monaco in May 2017 with his impact and influence going from strength to strength.

After a quiet few months as he adapted to life in a new club, new country and and new league with all the challenges that entails, Bernardo blossomed, playing an integral role in the Blues’ record-breaking 2017/18 season.

In all, he made an astonishing 53 appearances across all competitions – more than any other City player – scoring nine goals and creating 11 assists.

It was confirmation of the unique talents that City fans were first treated to when Bernardo shone at the Etihad with Monaco in the 2017 Champions League last 16 tie.

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And so far this season Bernardo has carried on from where he left off last term.

Blessed with an array of wonderful natural skills, and a shrewd tactical awareness, Bernardo also harnesses those talents alongside a prodigious work-rate.

Indeed, it’s not uncommon to see him harrying and chasing down the opposition late into matches, such is his hunger and desire and incredible fitness.

He’s also a selfless player, happy to adapt to the structure and needs of the team and that humble approach has helped establish him as a huge favourite at the Club – both inside and outside the dressing room.

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Little wonder that Pep Guardiola was so keen to bring Bernardo’s talents to Manchester.

Though the majority of his displays so far at City have seen him deployed on the flanks, many believe he could emerge as the long-term creative successor to David Silva.

Occupying Silva’s central role in August’s impressive Community Shield win over Chelsea, Bernardo produced a stand-out individual display.

And the City boss was effusive in his praise after the Wembley wonder show.

"The performance of Bernardo Silva was a masterpiece," Guardiola said.

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"Everybody knows the wingers want to compete. Right now, it is Bernardo and 10 others. But in 11 months it depends on what they show me on the pitch.

"Bernardo is far away from other guys, so that is why, at the moment, he plays.

"He is so intelligent, he is clever. He is a fighter, a competitor. I think he is the guy most beloved in our team and today he showed me a lot of things."

"He came back earlier (from the World Cup) and that showed me again a lot of things and that's one of the reasons we won today," said the coach.

Bernardo has maintained that sublime form, finding the target in our opening Premier League win away at Arsenal, shining again in the 6-1 thrashing of Huddersfield and, thanks to his touch, agility and vision, being at the heart of so much of City’s best work.

And, for his part, the Lisbon native admits he is thriving from playing and learning under Guardiola.

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And as he looked ahead to the resumption of City’s campaign following the current international break, Bernardo was full of optimism. 

“When you’re playing under Pep Guardiola, training every day – not only with him but all the staff and so many great players – you learn a lot. I have,” he admitted.

“I’m a much better player than I was a year ago.

“Personally, it was a good first season for me. In the first half of the season, I didn’t play as much as I wanted to but then in the second half, it was fantastic.

““I feel a lot better and adjusted to the team.

“I think in your second season, it’s normal to feel more at home and that definitely applies to me.

“We all know there is plenty of hard work ahead in the coming months, but it is great to start the way we have.”

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