Media Watch

Media Watch: City tracking Atletico ace?

Media Watch: City tracking Atletico ace?
It’s a packed Monday media watch, reflecting the fact we are now at business end of the season with City resuming midweek Champions League combat in Schalke before next Sunday’s Carabao Cup final with

There’s also a smattering of transfer gossip, further reflections on our FA Cup win at Newport County and ponderings on the Blues’ latest FA Women’s Cup success.

But we kick-off with an early look ahead to Wednesday’s eagerly-anticipated Champions League last 16 first leg tie away at FC Schalke. carries a fascinating first-person interview with City’s German international Ilkay Gundogan who talks about growing up in the city where Schalke play as well as the Blues’ hopes for this season’s tournament.

Gundogan told “I grew up in Gelsenkirchen-Hessler, where we lived in a flat on the ground floor.

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“We had two doors and behind the back door was the backyard, where there were around 20 or 25 garages.

“My brother and other friends used these garage doors as goals and played football there, until it got so intense that garage doors got broken.

“My father then had to replace the garage doors. He was mad at us and screamed at us out the window, but we didn't really listen to him and kept playing. We had a lot of fun, come rain or shine.”

Talking about City’s past and present Champions League experiences, Ilkay added: “We've experienced a lot in the Champions League in recent years – not all of it positive, of course. We should've won it at least once.

“Every club, every team, every single player would like to lift this trophy some time.

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“If you want to be in the international elite, as a club and as a player, you need to clinch this trophy.

“If we were to win it someday, the club would enter a new era – the same level as Real (Madrid), Barça, Bayern or Juventus. Our job is to try to give it our all to make that a reality.”

Elsewhere, the Daily Mail carries further praise for Phil Foden following the teenager’s superb two-goal display in our 4-1 FA Cup fifth round win at Newport County on Saturday.

And the Mail’s Jack Gaughan reveals how extra work in the gym has been paying extra dividends for the creative midifielder.

Writes Gaughan: “Watching the 18-year-old slug it out on the Rodney Parade cabbage patch — fiercely controlling midfield in the mud, scoring two thumping goals and carrying possession impressively — was to see him grow further.

“Newport County battled in tight spaces and met their match, even if that happened to be a diminutive one. Bulking up in the gym is clearly paying off.

“Forget the level of opposition, it was the manner of authority that really ought to put him in the frame for a place against Chelsea in the Carabao Cup final on Sunday.

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WATCH: Phil Foden  | We showed our quality in Newport victory

Pep Guardiola has maintained that Foden is ‘ready to play’ and his displays generally back that up, so let us see.

“‘I’ve been around the first team for over a year now,’ Foden said. ‘I’m ready to go and I’m trying to make my point.

‘”I’ve learned everything I need to know regarding the basics with Pep. He’s quite strict with his gameplans. I know all that now.

‘”It’s about stepping forward and trying to impress him. It’s always special to put this City shirt on.’

“For now Foden is ‘proud’ of his FA Cup double but was left dwelling on mistakes, an attitude that should bode well.

“‘There were a few,’ he said. ‘I let my man (Tyreeq Bakinson) go in the first half and he nearly scored at the back post. That was a massive one.

“I’ll definitely think about that. That’s the thing I need to learn, the defensive side of the game. I’m going to work on that.’”

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Looking even further ahead to the summer transfer market, the Mirror’s Simon Mullock claims that City are weighing up a move for Atletico Madrid’s Spanish international Saul Niguez.

Writes Mullock: “The 24-year-old is seen as the perfect replacement for veteran defensive midfielder Fernandinho as City bosses look to address the big weakness in Pep Guardiola's squad this summer.

“But Niguez will only be two years into a nine-year contract at the end of the season - and is welded to Atletico even further by a staggering £130million buy-out clause.

"That kind of fee will be too expensive for City – but the Premier League champions will still examine the possibility of bringing one of Spain's stellar talents to the Etihad.

“City have done business with Atletico before – paying £35m to land brilliant Argentine striker Sergio Aguero in 2011.

“City began looking towards Niguez towards the end of 2018.

“And their need to land a player who can fill Fernandinho's boots will become even more pressing at the end of the season.”

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Finally, the Guardian’s Suzanne Wrack reflects on another fine weekend for Nick Cushing and his squad following the Blues’ excellent 3-0 Women’s FA Cup triumph away at Tottenham.

Wrack scribes: “It was Steph Houghton, the the stalwart of that back line, the England captain, who broke the deadlock, whipping a free-kick over the wall and into the bottom right-hand corner of Chloe Morgan’s net. Two minutes later and it was two, Lauren Hemp delightfully chipping Morgan.

“Just five minutes after the restart it was three, a cross from the left causing panic in the box before Gemma Bonner was able to poke the ball over the line.

“The introduction of Angela Addison injected some pace into Spurs’ midfield, and it looked like she would reduce the deficit. Scythed down in the 75th minute Addison stepped up to take the resulting penalty but her effort lacked power and City keeper Ellie Roebuck got down to her right to parry it away.

“We’ve got a lot of young players but we are patient. We respected Tottenham, we knew what their strengths were and we nullified them and it’s great to come away with a clean sheet,” added Houghton.

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