Rico Lewis Breaks All Grounds And Wins Guardiola’s Heart In City XI

Kingsley Ikechi
Rico Lewis surely makes Pep Guardiola happy, even if the manager may not be entirely satisfied with some aspects of City’s current performance.

On Thursday night, Manchester City welcomed Hurricane Guardiola, the vivacious manager whirling from room to room for his post-match media. Guardiola blew the season of City wide open with a scathing evaluation of where the majority of the squad are at and criticised certain aspects of the teams play.

Just before him, Rico Lewis went gliding down the same hallway and stopping to speak with reporters on his way home while appearing carefree. The 18-year-old defender is as far as he possibly can be away from Guardiola’s current issues with the team.

The only uncertainty City’s rookie defender had against Spurs seemed to be whether he would be sent off. Lewis and his manager were furious about the lack of protection he was receiving after several rough tackles were made against him in the first half.

But if Tottenham thought they could isolate a weak link, they were mistaken. In addition to a stunning save in the second half to prevent Ivan Perisic from scoring what appeared to be a certain goal, the Radcliffe High School student strolled the ball around all night with ease, completing 52 of his 54 attempted passes.

It’s comes as no surprise to see him pulling himself out of precarious situations because his father Rick, a former British champion in Thai boxing now runs a club and made sure his son tried it before he decided to play football. His dad is now much more interested in football as a result of Guardiola’s elevation of the youngster.

Lewis is also on the verge of surpassing the amount of playing time Phil Foden saw in his first season with the first team. Foden served as a precursor to what was to come for City during the 2017–18 season, making 10 appearances in 328 minutes across three competitions.

Even though the rookie might not yet feel at ease playing for the first team, other teammates are expected to look up to him. His stats explain why as he has a passing accuracy of 93.9% which places him third in the Premier League behind Manu Akanji and John Stones but also at the top of all teenagers who have attempted at least 200 passes in Europe’s top five leagues.

After his 12th appearance in a season with plenty of remaining opportunities for games, Lewis has now played 621 games. The player opened up on how he feels, what are his targets and his aim to keep his level. He said:

” Every game for me is just a massive surprise,” he said. “I don’t expect to play any games so the games that I have been able to play already…it’s just overwhelming really.

“Right now it’s just playing games and doing as much as I can for the team. I never really feel like it makes much sense to shout about it because it can all go really quickly. While it’s happening just stay level and just enjoy it.”

There aren’t many players on the team right now that Guardiola loves more than Lewis, especially after he was mocking senior players, including goal-scoring sensation Erling Haaland, after the 4-2 victory over Tottenham.

Lewis is unburdened by any of that past baggage and is maximizing every opportunity to impress while the rest of the team struggles to get out of the rut they have found themselves in.

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