Pep backs Sterling for playmaker role

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has hinted that Raheem Sterling’s performance against Everton last weekend could see him earn his first start of the new season.

The England international came off the bench to score an 82nd-minute equaliser against Everton on Tuesday – salvaging a point for the Citizens who had earlier seen Wayne Rooney grab a surprise lead for the Toffees.

Speaking to reporters ahead of his side’s clash against Bournemouth on Saturday, Guardiola spoke about Sterling’s new role in the team.

“Since the preseason game against Real Madrid, in the second half, he has played more as a No. 10, behind the striker. He is so dangerous in that position,” the Spaniard said.

“I like him to sit there closer to the middle because he commits the central defenders, he is so aggressive in the small spaces. That is good.

“He scored a goal. In the last four or five games, he scored a goal per game. Hopefully, the goal he scored in the last game can help his confidence. Because with a goal, he is confident,” Guardiola added.

The Citizens boss also briefly discussed the club’s new midfielder, Bernardo Silva, who is also expected to be included in Guardiola’s starting XI against the Cherries.

“He’s a player that has this quality and especially his personality, how he played in the last 10-15 minutes against Everton, his first game in the Premier League, in the the Etihad Stadium, and he tried to do things,” the 46-year old said.

“He tried to fight, with personality, that’s why we decide to pick him up. Not just for the quality but for his personality.”

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