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Andy Morrison: Ian Bishop could have played for Guardiola’s City

Andy Morrison: Ian Bishop could have played for Guardiola’s City
Andy Morrison believes Ian Bishop could have played in Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City team.

Comfortable in possession, Bishop was a silky skilled midfielder with an eye for a pass and represented the Club in three different decades across two spells.

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A hugely popular figure, the brief first chapter of his City career is fondly remembered for his performance and goal in the 5-1 derby demolition in 1989, whilst in his second spell, his guile and craft helped Joe Royle’s team to back-to-back promotions from the third tier to the Premier League.

It was a glorious period, but worlds away from Guardiola’s all conquering City side, though Morrison believes his former team-mate had everything required to flourish in the current set-up.

“When I came in, I realised very quickly he was a unique footballer,” he said on the We’re Not Really Here pre-match show before City’s win over Everton.

“It made my life very easy. I just won the ball and passed it straight to him. That’s what a centre-half wants, to win the ball and have a simple pass.

“In training sessions, he was the first pick in every team, in the keep ball sessions or small sided games because you wanted him on your team.

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“The game has changed. Midfielders are more looked after now. He would receive the ball in tight areas, get himself out of trouble, show quality when you were able to kick somebody.

“We go back 20 years and the game has totally changed. I think he's the one player I played with who could go into the City squad now.”

Bishop’s cult hero status was replicated at West Ham United, where he spent nine years between his time at Maine Road.

He was a player fans loved to watch and for Morrison the Merseyside-born midfielder was ahead of his time, with our inspirational former captain suggesting the style of play in English football prevented Bishop from showcasing the true extent of his ability.

“I always think his talent was held back a little bit because of the English way of playing football,” he added.

“If he had gone to the continent, to Spain or Italy, I think we would have seen even more because I saw things in training that we weren’t seeing in games because of the structure.

“The way Joe set the team up and the way we played, he wasn’t allowed to do it, but there were moments when he was magnificent.”

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‘Fantastic in the changing room’ is how Morrison describes Bishop, who was one of the great characters in Royle's promotion winning side.

It is a sentiment echoed by another former City midfielder, Michael Brown, who joined Morrison on We’re Not Really Here to reveal a fond recollection of his own.

Bishop played 43 times as City won promotion to the Premier League in the 1999/2000 season, but Brown, who had been a regular in the previous campaign, made just one appearance before departing for Sheffield United in search of regular football.

He scored his first goal for his new club against his former employers a month after completing the switch, which prompted a classy response from Bishop during the game.

“I was playing for Sheffield United against Manchester City,” Brown explained.

“It was 1-0. I had scored against City and Ian Bishop was my opposition, the midfield person I had to go up against.

“When I scored, he realised the situation I had been in, I had to go to Sheffield United and he actually came up to me in the game and said, ‘well done mate, you deserved that’.

“I was taken aback. That just tells you it is not just about being a good footballer, it’s about being a good man as well.”

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