Pep Guardiola names Man City player most likely to follow him as a manager

Pep Guardiola has named Ilkay Gundogan as the Manchester City player most likely to go on to be a manager after his playing days are over. The Germany international was Guardiola’s first signing, for a bargain £20million, when he took over as Blues boss in 2016, and has gone on to play a central role in the club’s unprecedented success,

And when asked in a Sky Sports interview which of his current crop of stars is most likely to make the move upstairs from dressing room to manager’s office, he had no hesitation in naming the 31-year-old former Borussia Dortmund ace. Gundogan is a pivotal part of Guardiola ’s squad, to the point that he did without a holding midfielder in order to shoe-horn him into his team for the Champions League final defeat to Chelsea last year.

That is testament to his trust in Gundogan’s intelligence and understanding of the game on the pitch, even if it proved to be a mistake in Porto. Those attributes will serve the player well if he makes the move, said Guardiola.

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“I think Gundogan will be,” he replied when asked which of his players is most likely to follow his route, going from being a top player to a top coach and manager. There are many players who say they won’t be managers after – so they go home, they get bored being at home with nothing to do, and after they become managers.

“Midfield players have a chance to be managers, and players who think of the game of football as a whole, not just thinking of me, me, me. When these guys start to understand the game as a group, as a whole, they have the challenge to be a manager.”

And when it comes to football management, Guardiola said that the best attribute you can have is to learn how to deal with a dressing room where every player wants to play:”Handling the guys who are not selected,” he said when asked the best characteristic of a good manager.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 14: Pep Guardiola, manager of Manchester City shares a joke with coach Juanma Lillo and Fernandinho during a training session at Manchester City Football Academy on October 14, 2021 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Matt McNulty – Manchester City/Manchester City FC via Getty Images)

“If you are able to have the group more or less as a unit and handle well the guys that don’t play, you will be happy in your job. If it’s turmoil in the locker room, a mess in the locker room, nothing to do. You will not be happy, and no success.”

He also admitted that he is still evolving as a manager. After saying last week that he is now much calmer on the touchline and in the dressing room than he was when he first came to City, he reiterated that by saying he is still focussing on improving in that area.

“I’m learning to be more patient,” he said. “Before I was too anxious, not a good manager. Now I’m better, more patient. It’s so difficult because it’s anti-natural about who I am. But I have people close to me to help me to be more calm, to see things as I could not see it.”

And he said that in a competitive world, his closest friends in managerial circles are his current and former assistants|: “I have few,” he said.

“It’s a competitive world but I would say my assistants, hopefully Mikel Arteta – hopefully I’m his friend, and of course (assistants) Juanma Lillo, Rodolfo (Borrell), Domenec Torrent, now manager for Galatasaray. The guys who worked together as trainers now hopefully they can concede I am their friend.”

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