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Messi: De Bruyne and Silva can light up World Cup

With the World Cup starting in less than a week, there’s plenty of City-related stories to get our teeth into this morning.

We’ve got quotes from John Stones, Fabian Delph and Kevin De Bruyne, but we’ll kick off with Barcelona’s Lionel Messi.

The Argentina star believes there are many great players going to Russia this summer, but two of the best are City’s De Bruyne and David Silva.

The MEN report: “City have 16 players going to the World Cup, making them the best-represented club at the showpiece in Russia ahead of Real Madrid with 15.

“Perhaps unsurprisingly, the two City players Messi has tipped to shine during the tournament are Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva, who stood out as the Blues clinched a Premier League and League Cup double this season.

READ: Daniel Grimshaw pens new three-year deal

‘Brazil have Neymar and Philippe [Coutinho],’ Messi said. ‘Spain have Andres Iniesta and [David] Silva. Germany don't have any one star, but they are very solid.

'Belgium have [Eden] Hazard and [Kevin] De Bruyne. France have [Antoine] Griezmann and [Kylian] Mbappe.

 

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‘The tournament is full of very good players.’

The MEN continue with the comments of KDB and his team-mate’s omission

‘For me he has been the best young player this year in the whole world, so you can see how I rate him,’ said De Bruyne.

‘In the end I don't know what happened in Germany, maybe there was an issue between them [Sane and Germany manager Joachim Low]. We'll never know, I guess.’

 

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Meanwhile John Stones says Pep Guardiola is the reason behind his progress this season.

The England defender, quoted in the Mirror reflected on the main influences on his form, saying: ‘Definitely Pep, the players I’m playing with at club level, and obviously becoming more mature, knowing myself and knowing the game better.

‘I think the thing for me is how he has made everything so simple. He has taken my footballing brain to another level.

‘Everyone thinks they know football and different systems but when I turned up at City and trained with him it was like a new door opening that I never thought would be there.

‘Everything seem to click, and everything is so simple. Simplicity is key.

‘He’s (Pep) very open. He said we can call him or text him whenever we need to - 24 hours a day – he’s always said that which is brilliant of him as a person in my opinion. Even if it is not football related. That is important.

‘As you have seen with David Silva, who had a lot of problems. We all wanted him to make sure his family life was ok.’

We’ll return to the World Cup shortly, but first, a snippet from the 4th Official who claim the Blues have stepped interest in teenage Ajax star Matthijs de Ligt as they write: “Tutto Mercato understands that Manchester City have launched a €60m bid for Ajax defender,Matthijs de Ligt.

“The Dutch outfit reportedly turned down a €50m offer from Tottenham Hotspurpreviously but will now have to strongly consider the Citizens’ bid for their 18-year-old starlet.

“Pep Guardiola does not necessarily have the best relationship with the player’s agent, Mino Raiola, which could potentially block the move from happening if reports are true in this case. €60m is quite an amount to turn down without a strong consideration.

“For this particular player, the price just might be justified, given the economic climate we live in and the talent that he has managed to showcase.”

Meanwhile Fabian Delph has told the Yorkshire Post playing at Elland Road for England was a dream come true.

 

T'YORKSHIRE CHALLENGE: Delph vs. Walker.

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The ex-Leeds and City star said: ‘It is where it all started for me, so to come back and put on the England shirt in front of my home fans, it is a dream come true.

‘My time here was fantastic. I came here at 10, 11 years old and the club gave me the opportunity to play. If it was not for Leeds United I would not be where I am today.

‘I still follow (Leeds’) results and I still keep in touch with people I grew up with.

‘If it was not for Leeds United I would not be where I am today.’

City stars Nikita Parris and Jill Scott were  on the score sheet as England Women beat Russia 3-1 in a World Cup qualifier.

The BBC report: "England moved back to the top of their World Cup qualifying group with a comfortable win over Russia in Moscow.

"Manchester City forward Nikita Parris put the visitors in front with a header from Toni Duggan's cross.

"Two goals from Parris' club-mate Jill Scott - either side of one from the hosts' Elena Danilova - gave England a commanding lead before half-time.

"Victory was the Lionesses' third in six games since Phil Neville's appointment as head coach in January."

Finally, back to John Stones who says the World Cup is a chance to put the memory of Euro 2016 behind him.

Stones was one of only two squad members not used in France and The Independent write: “Stones travelled to France two years ago as part of the 23-man Euros squad selected by then-England manager Roy Hodgson, having played the entirety of two pre-tournament friendlies, yet found himself out of favour once the tournament began.

“Despite Hodgson rotating his side heavily for the final group game against Slovakia, Stones did not feature. Of all England’s outfield players, only he and Ross Barkley returned home without a single minute under their belts.

“The 24-year-old, likely to start in the centre of Gareth Southgate’s defence at this summer’s World Cup in Russia, now remembers the 2016 Euros as a tournament he “can never get back”.

‘It was disappointing,’ he said, while speaking with members of the national press at St George’s Park on Tuesday. ‘It was difficult. However long we were out there me and Ross didn’t get a second on the pitch. And that is a tournament I can never get back.

‘There’s all sorts of ways to look at it. I can look at it and I can be negative about it and almost start pointing the finger and blaming people. But I would never do that.

‘I have got to look at it and think: ‘How can I bring that experience into this tournament?’ Motivation-wise and knowing how team-mates feel when they are not playing. They are just as important as the boys who are playing and knowing that everyone has a vital role to play.’

That’s all for today – we’ll see you back tomorrow for more of the same…

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