Mens Team

Guardiola sees Busquets traits in Garcia

PREVIEW: Pep Guardiola speaks to the media ahead of City's FA Cup tie against Port Vale.
Pep Guardiola says Eric Garcia shares similarities with Barcelona great, Sergio Busquets.

The 18-year-old defender has impressed the Manchester City boss with his thirst for tactical knowledge since stepping up into the first team environment.

It’s a rare trait in one so young, Guardiola admits, but it’s something he recalls identifying in the young Busquets, who he helped become one of the finest holding midfielders in the world whilst at Barcelona.

WATCH | Guardiola hails Garcia impact

“Busquets [was like that] when he was young,” the Catalan said when asked if Garcia reminds him of any other player he’s worked with.

“When I was in the second team at Barcelona and the first team, he was so curious. In that age, at 17 or 18-years-old, there are not many.

“But in the squad, there are people who love to understand the tactics and guys who don’t like to talk about that. That doesn’t mean you’re good or bad.

“Eric is a guy who likes to know the reason why. He is a guy who, if he makes a mistake, he quickly understands why.

“He will continue to make mistakes, of course, but Eric is stable.”

That stability is why Guardiola has called upon Garcia during the busy festive period in which he has been without John Stones and long-term absentee, Aymeric Laporte.

City’s No.50 was introduced at half-time against Wolves and completed the full 90 minutes in the wins over Sheffield United and Everton

He will again be in contention for a start when Port Vale visit the Etihad Stadium in the FA Cup third round on Saturday evening, when Guardiola may well take the opportunity to blood more Academy graduates.

WATCH: Guardiola: Stones to play against Port Vale

That he is getting these opportunities is down to the faith the City boss has in the young defender, whose intelligence and level-headedness leaves him no doubts about his readiness for senior football.

“He’s just 18-years-old and has lots to learn, but he is so clever,” added Guardiola. “Everything you say to him, he understands immediately.

“Eric is a young player who is always stable. That’s important, especially in this position.

“A striker is up and down because there is more talent, more creativity. They can wake up and think they’ll express everything, but defenders have to be stable and Eric is like this.

“He will be better at 22, or 25 or 27, especially if he plays games.

“He will not be a guy, that good games or nice words in the media will change his perspective on who he is or how he has to behave.”

That Guardiola has so much trust in the youngster can be explained by the certain symmetry between their careers.

Both are Barcelona natives who came through the famed La Masia academy before ending up at City and Guardiola has admitted he has long been aware of Garcia’s promise.

“I heard something when he was in the Barcelona academy, that he was a captain in all the teams,” explained the boss.

“He arrived here and immediately he was captain. That means he settled incredibly well with the team. He is an incredibly lovely guy, very well educated and always knows exactly what he has to do.

“He doesn’t ever over-exaggerate in his acts or be shy in the other. He is always calm. He is focused all the time.”

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