Mens Team

Guardiola: 'Rodri is going to be important for us'

Guardiola: 'Rodri is going to be important for us'
Pep Guardiola has hailed the arrival of summer signing Rodri and says he believes the young Spaniard will become a key figure for City over the next few years.

Following his move from Atletico Madrid earlier this summer on a five-year contract, the 23-year-old is set to make his City bow on our Asia Tour with the squad preparing for tomorrow’s Premier League Asia Trophy tour opener against West Ham (1.30pm BST).

Looking ahead to the game in Nanjing, the boss confirmed that Rodri and fellow summer signing Angelino would both feature against the Hammers.

Guardiola said defensive midfielder Rodri had already settled in well at the Club and added he was in no doubt he will prove a pivotal figure looking to the long term. 

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“He’s (Rodri) a young player who is going to be important for the next five or six years,” said Guardiola.

“The first 10 days have been really good, he will play his first game tomorrow.

“He and Angelino will play tomorrow.”

Meanwhile, Guardiola has also paid generous tribute to Fabian Delph following the midfielder’s move to Everton.

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The England international has made the switch to Goodison Park after four years sterling service at City, during which time he was part of successive Premier League title-winning squads under Guardiola.

And the City boss was keen to express his own special thanks for Delph’s service and commitment to the cause in his own time in charge here.

“It was an incredible three years for us,” Guardiola said of his time working with Delph at City.

“Personally, he helped me a lot and helped us a lot, especially two seasons ago when we won the league with him playing in a position that he isn’t used to.

“Normally he is a midfield player, but he played full-back and everyone here, all the club, all the staff, all his mates wish him all the best in a big club like Everton.”

Pep added that there was very little disruption to the team's plans, despite the two-day delay in arriving in China.

"We would have been training in China, so we trained in Manchester instead – it was just the same," he said.

                        Guardiola: 'Rodri is going to be important for us'

"There were some problems the Club could not control, but OK, we are here now. It was more frustrating for the people who were here already working and planning for the first few days, but we could not fly so we trained at the CFA.

"When you can’t control something, you just have to go with it. I hate finding excuses – I don’t like it if people say ‘oh, could be better’ or things like that – it is what it is, and we move forwards. You cannot control what you can’t control.

"The Premier League is huge in China, Japan and Asia and many clubs have tours here. Sometimes it’s America, but we follow the Club. The Club decided it wanted us to go here this time  and here we are and it’s nice.

"We are part of the Club and we work together."

The Catalan said pre-season training will follow similar lines to that last few years with no major changes planned.

He said: "Step by step, we analyse what we are doing and prepare like we did the last two years.

"They are smart guys. This is an incredible squad and they know they must play well to be in contention to play – it’s not necessary to tell them that.

"The team has trained incredibly well the first few days, so we are on the right path."

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