A salute to both Pep Guardiola and Raheem Sterling from Aston Villa boss Dean Smith and fascinating insight from Phil Foden are all on the menu in Friday’s busy media round-up.

Foden made history last term by becoming the youngest player to win a Premier League medal – and to mark the occasion the Guinness Book of Records have conducted a special Q and A session with the City teenager.

There’s plenty of coverage too ahead of Saturday’s key Premier League encounter at home to Aston Villa with Villans boss Dean Smith holding up both Guardiola and Sterling as inspirational role models.

And there’s a Friday snippet of transfer gossip, just for good measure, so plenty to whet the appetite ahead of the weekend.


avfc.co.ukCity are the ultimate test, says Villa boss

Dean Smith: “Pep’s record speaks for itself.  As a coach, I love how he’s adapted his game. 

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“Look at Barcelona when he first took over there. They were a dream to watch in terms of the way they played. 

“But then he went to Bayern Munich and adapted to the players he had there. 

“You’d very rarely see Barcelona score from crosses, it would be intricate passing movements and playing through teams. 

“But, with Bayern and the personnel he had there, he used the wide players to get balls into the box. That’s the sign of a good coach, you adapt how you play. 

“He’s done that again at Man City. In their first season, they didn’t win the title but he adapted to the Premier League. 

“Going forward, in my opinion, they are the best in the league."

He added: “They are the champions of England for a reason. They don’t lose many games, although they have lost a couple this year. 

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“It’s a tough place to go, we know that, but we have great belief in ourselves.”

expressandstar.comSterling sets the gold standard, says Smith

Matt Maher: The Villa boss is always keen for his players to learn from the best and revealed how he uses clips of Raheem Sterling in action to teach his squad.

“In the Championship last season, we’d be showing clips of Raheem and some runs he makes to help improve our wide players and forwards,” said the boss.

“We’ll continue to do that because City are one of the top teams in Europe. You have to look at best practice to help your players improve, he’s certainly one example as someone who’s one of the best teams in Europe.”

Sterling, who first broke through as a teenager at Liverpool, has established himself as one of the continent’s top attackers.

Smith added: “It’s about attitude, application, coaching, he looks an altogether all-round player now

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“He’s not individualistic, he’s a team player, not just the runs he makes into the box to create goals, but also the recovery runs he makes to get back into shape, that can go unseen sometimes.

“He looks a tremendous prospect, it’s frightening to realise that he’s still only 24.”

From the players

guinnessworldrecords.comQ and A with record breaker Phil Foden

What has been the highlight of your football career to date, for both club and country? 

“For country it would have to be winning the U17 World Cup in India in 2017. The icing on the cake was scoring two goals and winning the Golden Boot. There’s nothing better than representing your country, let alone winning something for them.

“Scoring my first goal for City away to Oxford (last season) was brilliant. It’s something you think about over and over again in your head, and when it actually happens, nothing can beat that feeling. I think the fans saw how much it meant to me too.”

You are officially the youngest football player to win the Premier League. What’s the next target on your list and what is the ultimate goal for you as a football player?

“My immediate target is to keep winning with City and play regularly. Beyond that who knows: having won the U17 World Cup it gave me that buzz and made me hungrier for more. To win it again with the first team would be the best. We've got a talented generation of players and there’s no reason we can’t make the most of it.”

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What position do you see yourself playing going forward? 

“CAM (central attacking midfielder)”

What’s the biggest impact Pep has had so far on shaping you as a player? 

“You can’t help but learn from Pep every day in training because he is always looking for you to give your best at every session. Also, training with the quality players we have is a massive help as well.”

Who would you say is the most exciting player you’ve played with at club level as well as at England youth level? 

“Bernardo Silva.”


BBC.comMark Lawrenson prediction

Mark Lawrenson: “Aston Villa are on a good little run after taking seven points from their past three games, and I am sure they will have a go at Manchester City because that is the way Dean Smith likes to play.

“City's defence continues to be a talking point but regardless of whether they play with one, two or three centre-backs, they are at home and I am expecting them to win.”

Prediction: 3-1

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sportwitness.co.uk City and Arsenal ‘closely’ follow Real Madrid star

Naveen Ullal: “Isco’s playing time at Real Madrid has been restricted this season as the attacking midfielder has been on the pitch only for 170 minutes.

“Zinedine Zidane has not used the Spain international in the Champions League fixtures so he’s been forced to settle for a place on the bench in the last two ties (injured in the first match).

"Three days ago, we covered a report from AS that explained Arsenal and Manchester City are ‘crazy’ about the playmaker and a move to either the Emirates or the Etihad would be a ‘magnificent solution’ for the 27-year-old.

“That’s because joining the Gunners or Pep Guardiola’s side would help him feature regularly and it could be vital for him to make it to next summer’s European championship with Spain.

“Catalan newspaper Sport now brings a short update on Isco. They claim Arsenal and City ‘closely follow’ the player’s situation at Real Madrid and they both want him in January.

“The La Liga winners have set a minimum price tag of €60m to sanction his sale.”