While much focus and analysis has been afforded to Raheem Sterling’s renaissance, Aleksandar Kolarov’s rejvination as a ball-playing centre-half, and Pep’s revolutionary inverted full-back role, Fernandinho has quietly evolved into one of the most important cogs in Manchester City’s rebooted machine.
The 31-year-old Brazilian, entering his fourth year in English football after arriving from Shakhtar Donetsk, has starred at the base of City’s ever-revolving midfield; tenacious tackling and expansive distribution making him one of the most complete midfielders in European football.
And Weaver, who spent ten years between the sticks at City from 1997 and 2007, believes that Fernandinho is now as important to the two-time Premier League champions as legendary Spanish midfielder Andres Iniesta was to Guardiola at Barcelona.
“He’s been fantastic and has been the unsung hero for a while now,” the former England Under-21 goalkeeper told 888sport. “He’s all over the place and breaks things up and starts things off.
“He can be one of the mainstays in Guardiola’s team now and, like Andres Iniesta, he links things up and doesn’t over-complicate it. He gets it and gives it and creates little pockets of space for others. He may not be a de Bruyne or Sterling but the role he plays is pivotal.”
Just a few short months into Pep’s reign, Fernandinho is already averaging more passes per game (69) than in any of his three previous seasons at the Etihad, according to WhoScored.
And Guardiola will have certainly been impressed by the midfielders’ effortless transition into the ‘pivot’ role that Sergio Busquets and Xabi Alonso fulfilled with such distinction at Barca and Bayern.
Read the full 888sport interview with Nicky Weaver, including his thoughts on how important Fernandinho is to the new City team
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