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Media: City set for period of domination

DOMINATION: Wayne Rooney says City will be difficult to catch

DOMINATION: Wayne Rooney says City will be difficult to catch

Today's Manchester City media roundup is a packed affair.

The players and staff may be enjoying a four-day rest period but the back pages are still awash with news, views and transfer rumours. 

Let’s start with an in-depth appraisal of Oleksandr Zinchenko’s emergence as a regular in the City side.

Adam Bate, writing for Sky Sports, credits his attitude as the reason he was given his chance by Pep Guardiola earlier in the season, and says his performances have been so good he has played his way into the manager’s plans for the remainder of the campaign.

“Zinchenko's attitude during the current campaign has been exemplary and his actions on the evening of a Premier League game in late November proved the turning point," Bate writes. "Remarkable given that he did not even play. ‘We arrived back from Huddersfield on Sunday night after the game and he stayed to train in the gym alone, said Guardiola.

“’That means a lot to me, because sooner or later he knows we are going to need him. He is a talented player, so clear, so clean. The way he plays, his decisions are always perfect. As a young player I hope in the future he will help us. He is going to stay for the whole season with us because I have the feeling we are going to use him.’

“Guardiola wanted to reward Zinchenko with a game against his former club Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League soon after but could not because the player had not been named in his squad for the competition. He has since been added to the list for the knockout stages and it would not be a huge shock if he features against Basel.

“Perhaps the bigger surprise for those who have followed Zinchenko's career since he impressed at both the 2013 European U17 Championship and the U19 variety in 2015 is that the player is impressing not as a midfielder but as an emergency left-back due to the injuries to Benjamin Mendy and Fabian Delph.

“Zinchenko is not a natural there but he is making it work because of his intelligence. ‘I'm starting to really understand the role now,’ he has explained. ‘A central midfielder should be able to play in every position and be smart in my opinion - like Fernandinho - he can play anywhere and be equally as good. It is adding new aspects to my game.’

“Fernandinho, a fellow Russian speaker, is something of a mentor and the two men certainly share an efficient use of the ball. Indeed, having completed 76 of his 84 passes ending inside the final third, Zinchenko boasts a better pass completion rate in that zone of the pitch than any other Manchester City player this season. He has been composure personified.”

The full piece is well worth a read, Blues.

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Every Touch

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Meanwhile, Wayne Rooney believes City are set for a period of domination under Guardiola. 

Speaking on Sky Sports' Monday Night Football, the former Manchester United forward says he expects City to remain England's dominant side for the foreseeable future. 

Rooney said: "In terms of catching Manchester City, I think certainly not this season.

"If I’m being perfectly honest I think it will be very difficult next season if Manchester City keep playing the way they’re playing.

"They are almost getting into the level Barcelona were at four or five years ago."

DEPENDABLE: Ederson produced a string of impressive saves at Turf Moor.

Highlights

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And, finally, Despite the January window only just closing, there is one piece of transfer gossip doing the rounds.

According to Daniel Cutts, writing in the Sun, City will make a summer move for Leicester forward Riyad Mahrez.

“Manchester City are planning to go back in for Leicester winger Riyad Mahrez this summer,” Cutts writes.

“The Algerian ace went AWOL after a deadline day switch to the Etihad broke down when the Foxes rejected a £65m plus player offer.

“The 26-year-old has even been offered help by the PFA after becoming depressed over the failed move to City.

“But Pep Guardiola is aiming to make another attempt at signing him when the summer window opens, to bolster his squad.

“City hope Leicester will be open to selling him when they have more time to find a suitable replacement.

“And Etihad chiefs are planning further talks when the Foxes travel to the Premier League leaders this coming weekend.”

That’s all for this morning’s roundup, Blues. Stay with us throughout the day for all the latest City news. 

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