Football

Pep Guardiola unveils new Kyle Walker plan for Manchester City

PSG manager Mauricio Pochettino has hailed Manchester City counterpart Pep Guardiola as the world's best coach.

Pep Guardiola says Joao Cancelo has some way to go to reach the gold standard for an inverted full-back, set by Philipp Lahm.

And the Manchester City manager hinted that the Blues are also working hard at giving Kyle Walker the same weapon in his already formidable armoury.

Cancelo has been outstanding as an attacking left-back this season, moving smoothly into midfield to prompt attacks, create goals and even score a couple.

But Guardiola says he still has some way to go to reach the level achieved by Germany star Lahm, who performed the role in his Bayern Munich side which won a hat-trick of Bundesliga titles.

“Right now he’s playing like Philipp played at Bayern when we were together,” said Guardiola. “In that position, the full-back a little bit inside, not just overlaps, Philipp is the best player I have ever seen in my entire life.

“I have never seen a full-back going inside and being in the pockets and close to the holding midfielder. From there, I’ve never seen one player like him. Never ever.

“But Joao, like Dani Alves for example, could play in that position. He definitely has the quality, like Aleks (Kolarov) and Fabian Delph.”

But Guardiola said that what has made him the happiest recently is that Walker is starting to do the same on the other side.

The England right-back is famous for his power-packed surges down the right flank, almost always overlapping, and he usually steps inside as a decoy to create space for wide right players Riyad Mahrez or Gabriel Jesus.

Guardiola hinted that we will be seeing more of Walker in a Cancelo-style inverted role, which will give opposing defences the dilemma of now knowing whether Walker will storm down the outside or work infield and overload the midfield.

“What I’m so delighted with is that in that position, Kyle is improving a lot,” said Guardiola. “The last games he’s played with us have been some of the best games he’s played since we were together.

“He’s another type of player, he has physicality, he plays more outside. Being inside you need to have a special quality and Kyle is improving a lot – that’s why I’m very pleased for Kyle and what he has been doing the last month with us.”

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