Nedum Onuoha says the football Manchester City are playing under Pep Guardiola is “incredible”.
The Catalan manager has transformed City’s playing style, introducing a possession-based approach that sees City dominate the ball and play on the front foot.
And with Premier League and Carabao Cup success offering tangible evidence that his methods bring results, there’s been widespread praise across the board for what he’s implemented since taking charge in 2016.
Onuoha, who played 116 games for City between 2004-2012, is the latest to reveal his admiration, saying it’s the kind of football that should make City fans “really proud”.
“Everyone is watching City,” he says. “I’m watching every game and hoping that they win whilst other people are watching with their jaws to the floor as if to say how incredible it really is.
“It’s a bit different to how we used to play back in the day, but it is terrific.
“People are really buying into the way Pep is making the team play now.
“The way that they’re playing is something to be really proud of.”
Onuoha was a product of City’s academy, joining the Club in 1996 and making his first-team debut as a 17-year-old against Arsenal in 2004.
Lightening quick and an intelligent reader of the game, he now plays for MLS side Real Salt Lake after spending six years at QPR.
City fans are known for the support and patience they show academy graduates, something Onuoha says he certainly felt when he broke into the side.
“I definitely had that,” he says. “By the time I came into the team I had great support from my team mates around me.
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“When the fans feel that they can connect with a player that’s out there they almost feel as they’re out there themselves.
"Obviously, they’re not just going to support anyone – if you’ve got a bad attitude or you’re a bad player then they’re not necessarily going to get behind you.
“But once they see that playing for the team means the same to you as it does to them, then it’s a great place to be.”
City’s academy is much-changed since Onuoha’s days, with the state-of-the-art City Football Academy now the base for every Blues player aged nine through to the first team.
It’s the envy of world football, an 80-acre campus that provides the finest medical and training facilities in the game.
Onuoha says it's the kind of setup that will help our youngsters thrive.
“Being able to learn in this environment is terrific because whether they make it or they don’t, they’ve had the opportunity to really learn their trade," he says.
"There are certain things that they will get here that other people might not necessarily be able to get up and down the country.
"If these little nuances can go and help them to get their careers and can be an asset to them then it is worth every penny."