Pep demands more from Rodri
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has told Rodri that "he can do better" despite his impressive start to life in England.
The Citizens spent £62.8m to land the Spaniard this summer, bringing him in after impressing during his single season at Atletico Madrid, whom he joined Villarreal from in 2018.
Rodri has started both the Community Shield victory over Liverpool, which his side won on penalties, and last weekend’s 5-0 win away at West Ham.
The manner which he has patrolled the midfield has drawn plenty of admiring glances, mixing physicality with finesse to allow those around him to perform at their best.
Guardiola is never one to rest on his laurels though and says that he is still looking for signs of development from the 23-year-old.
“Rodri has to play better, so does everyone,” he said. “He has potential as a young player, he’s tall, but he’s new.”
Rodri is again likely to get the nod on Saturday when Tottenham are the visitors to the Etihad Stadium.
He will have extra motivation to perform following the news that Fernandinho is back available for the visit of the Lilywhites. The Brazilian was absent at the London Stadium with a suspected knee issue but is in the squad for Saturday and still has plenty to offer.
Replacing Fernandinho has been a priority at the Etihad for the last few transfer windows, with his holding position previously the only role where Guardiola was lacking cover.
Ilkay Gundogan deputised well towards the business end of last season but is more suited going forward. Fabian Delph was also seen as an option but has now moved on to Everton.
Rodri looks to be the club’s solution going forward and appears to have a big future. While not as dynamic as Fernandinho, his ability to break up the play and start attacks is reminiscent of the man he is expected to succeed at international level, Barcelona’s Sergio Busquets.
Guardiola was a similar type of deep-lying playmaker during his own playing days and the boss says he is looking forward to seeing where the new boy can improve.
“We have to see what we can do better,” he added. “He’s smart and he will get it. Like everyone, he can do better.”
City’s match against Tottenham is followed by next Sunday’s trip to Bournemouth before the champions welcome Brighton to Manchester on August 31.
Rodri will be hoping to be involved as much as possible before heading off with the Spain squad for their Euro 2020 qualifiers against Romania and the Faroe Islands.