Man City boss Pep Guardiola has already explained what it will take to replace Fernandinho – Jack Flintham


This summer, one player will have the unenviable task of having to fill the boots of Fernandinho.

During his 383 appearances for Manchester City, the Brazilian became a favourite among supporters. His gritty and determined nature was bound to make him popular on the pitch, but behind the scenes, his wonderful personality endeared him to his colleagues.

Even this season, when his appearances in the first team began to dry up, Guardiola was still singing the midfielder’s praises. At the end of last year, Pep raved about the City legend: “He is an incredible captain that we have because he didn’t play much this season because Rodri has been exceptional.

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“He always tries to help the team, the guys who don’t play, myself, the staff. He is so generous. He is just thinking about what the team need and what is best for the team. This is a real captain, when they always think about what is best for the team and the club.

“That is why he is so generous when he doesn’t play and when he plays, he always plays good. We will need him because we have many games and Rodri cannot play all season, it is impossible.”

This lavish praise from Guardiola portrays the image of a footballer who is hard to replace. N’Golo Kante has been handed similar compliments previously, but the likelihood of him leaving Chelsea seems slim. Fortunately, there is another Premier League player who holds similar qualities in abundance.

Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips was absent for much of his side’s season due to injury and it is no surprise that his absence coincided with his boyhood club’s drop down the table. One of Pep’s inspirations, Marcelo Bielsa, gave Phillips a ringing endorsement while he was in the hot seat at Elland Road.

He told Leeds Live in January 2020: “Kalvin’s playing excellent. He’s regular. He always plays, he always plays well. He make a lot of effort for the team. He’s a character player, good personality. He takes risks.

“The responsibility doesn’t inhibit him. In the last match he played against [Mesut] Ozil and [Joe] Willock – I think he approved very well with this exam against them.”

A glowing endorsement from Bielsa which ultimately sums up the type of player City could be getting their hands on this summer. Phillips has all the hallmarks of a true professional who could fit spectacularly into Guardiola’s group of elite mentalities.

At the age of 26, Phillips is about to hit his prime and having the opportunity to work with Rodri next season would only further his development. While the midfielder has claimed he isn’t interested in a move away this summer, now could be the perfect chance to turn his head before Jesse Marsch can steady the ship at Elland Road.

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