Rodolfo Borrell declared Cole Palmer a ‘huge talent’ following his man of the match display against Swindon Town, and believes he will only get better by being in and around Manchester City’s first team squad.

With a host of senior players unavailable following a COVID-19 outbreak, Palmer grasped the opportunity afforded to him and delivered the best performance of his senior career as City eased to a 4-1 victory over the Robins.


The 19-year-old looked dangerous all evening. A trademark drop of the shoulder allowed him to square for Bernardo Silva to net the opener and he capped a fine night’s work by firing a sumptuous effort in off the bar to wrap up the routine victory.

Borrell, who deputised for Pep Guardiola following his positive COVID-19 test, felt Palmer proved his ability at the County Ground, but has challenged him to maintain his hard work if he is to follow in Phil Foden’s footsteps and fully establish himself in the senior set-up.

“He is a huge talent, that is no secret,” Borrell explained.

“Everyone has seen that tonight. He is a player who is training with us on a daily basis.

“It’s difficult sometimes to give him more minutes because of the level of competition in the squad.

“It is about being patient, keep working hard and using these kind of opportunities to show the talent that he is. Obviously he has a huge, huge quality which is great for us and for him.

“[He needs to] keep training and work hard. It’s not easy to sustain when you don’t get the minutes, but at the same time it is a huge advantage when he can train on a daily basis with such fantastic players.

“When he has the opportunity to play for our second team or the national team, he just needs to keep performing.

“This is what happened with Phil Foden. We cannot compare. They are completely different players. Cole is younger but is on a good path.”

Despite our preparations being disrupted by a Coronavirus outbreak, City did a professional job in Wiltshire, where a dominant first half display paved the way for a comfortable victory.

Eight Academy players were included in the matchday squad, though only Palmer made the starting XI alongside the likes of Ruben Dias, Kevin De Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan.

It was a strong team, which Borrell says is a sign of the respect City have for the competition.

“We were facing a big challenge in the FA Cup,” he added.

“It is always challenging and if you don’t take it seriously and start on the front foot, you are in trouble, even with the difference in terms of quality.

“I think we started very well on the front foot and very quickly we scored a goal, then another and could have had two or three more.

“Towards the end of the first half we may be allowed too many counter-attacks and it was going back and forth and in the second half there were some counter-attacks but the game was already decided by this stage.

“In terms of fielding a strong team, we take this competition very seriously. It’s great competition.  

“We are very much aware of the history of the FA Cup in this country and what it means.

“We have achieved three Premier Leagues and many other titles, but our FA Cup win was one of our proudest.”