Men's Team

Guardiola sounds salute to 'special' Lewis

Guardiola sounds salute to 'special' Lewis
Pep Guardiola sounded a special salute to Champions League record breaker Rico Lewis after the 17-year-old capped a stunning first start for City by firing home a sensational second half leveller during our 3-1 win over Sevilla.

When the right back struck early in the second half to cancel out Rafa Mir’s first half header it saw the Academy graduate at 17 years and 346 days become the youngest player in Champions League history to score on his first start in the competition, beating the record held by Karim Benzema.

Having impressed with City on our pre-season tour to the United States, Lewis – who captained our Under-18s to Premier League Northern and National title success last term - has gone on to feature from the bench on several occasions this term.

And having decided to hand Lewis a first senior start and seen the spectacular results, Guardiola expressed his delight as he reflected on what he called the perfect night as City wrapped up an impressive Group G campaign in unbeaten fashion having secured top spot last week


“He’s so smart. He made a standing ovation all the way down, he played really good,” Guardiola declared.

“He is so clever, so intelligent. If you say something, he doesn’t need to practice more because he knows what happened during the game.

“We see him every day. We don’t give presents here. Not just because he is a City fan from the Academy is he going to play. You have to earn it.

LEVEL BEST: Rico Lewis fires home to draw City level
LEVEL BEST: Rico Lewis fires home to draw City level

“We see him since the day one in USA in pre-season when he played a few minutes against Bayern.

“In the training sessions we always thought this guy has something special.

“Defensive he is aggressive enough. He has the margin to improve but with the ball inside he is so good and outside we saw today, one v one good crosses and good finishing.

“It’s the perfect scenario. We are at home with our people so it’s perfect to give him minutes.


“He has the idea to be better but we can teach him and (assistant coach) Enzo Maresca trains with him. He is always open and he can improve but that is normal he is 17 years old.

"He is showing every day he can be with us, now it is on him.

“The good player I realised in two minutes. You don’t need time in these situations.

TWO GOOD: Julian Alvarez starts the celebrations after our second goal
TWO GOOD: Julian Alvarez starts the celebrations after our second goal

He’s 16/17 years old maybe he needs time so you don’t put pressure on but every game he is coming with us.

“The season is too long, Carabao Cup is ready and injuries can happen. If he has to play we can trust that he is ready.

“It is really good for the present but especially for the future.

“We are so happy for him and for Josh and for Sergio and the young guys.

"It’s good to qualify but we finished well. It was a good night for the Club."