BBC pundit Garth Crooks thinks Spanish midfielder Rodri is Manchester City’s ‘most important’ player, not Erling Haaland or Kevin De Bruyne.
Rodri joined City from Atletico Madrid for around £60million in 2019 and he has become one of the best midfielders in world football under the guidance of Pep Guardiola.
Able to do the dirty work (and somehow get away with it on a weekly basis), Rodri is the perfect defensive midfielder and at the age of 27, he is not going anywhere anytime soon.
After another epic campaign as Manchester City won their third Premier League title in a row, the Spaniard has carried his form into 2023/24 and was highly influential in his side’s comeback victory at West Ham on Saturday.
Despite his goal, it was a day to forget for Nordic robot Erling Haaland, who missed a ridiculous five(!) ‘big chances’ on the day.
Unsurprisingly, Haaland was not named in Crooks’ Premier League Team of the Week, unlike the joke that is Rodri.
Crooks has admitted that there is an argument to be made for Rodri being regarded as City’s ‘most important’ player after another week in which he ‘pulled the strings’.
He wrote for BBC: ‘Arguably the most important member of City’s team, Rodri is a permanent fixture in Pep Guardiola’s set-up – venturing forward and being more creative with every game.
‘During the second half, West Ham hardly saw the ball as Rodri pulled the strings and City controlled the match.
‘They have taken maximum points from five games and their past four haven’t included Kevin de Bruyne – no-one has even mentioned him, never mind missed him.
‘At this rate, City can take their time with the injured De Bruyne and wait until he’s fully fit before considering his return.’
Rodri was joined in Crooks’ Team of the Week by City teammates Ederson, Kyle Walker, and new signing Jeremy Doku.
Doku was particularly impressive in his second start for the Cityzens, scoring the equalising goal in the first minute of the second half.
Crooks praised the Belgian winger for his ‘electric’ performance against Hammers right-back Vladimir Coufal.
‘How interesting that, having dispensed with the services of Raheem Sterling at 27 and more recently Riyad Mahrez at 32, City manager Pep Guardiola sold both players for a combined sum more than the price of Doku,’ he wrote.
‘The 21-year-old looked electric against West Ham and City now have a player once again who is capable of beating full-backs on a regular basis in a way Sterling and Mahrez used to do.
‘Doku set up two gilt-edged chances for Erling Haaland during the first half before slotting the most delightful goal past a stranded Areola.
‘Hammers full-back Vladimir Coufal did his best to contain Doku but the winger was just too good on the day.’
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