English Premiership

Pep to enjoy working with Iheanacho

Pep Guardiola (AFP)
Pep Guardiola (AFP)

Cape Town - Manchester City great, Paul Dickov, believes Pep Guardiola will be delighted at the prospect of working Nigerian starlet, Kelechi Iheanacho.

The Bayern Munich trainer will replace Manuel Pellegrini at the end of the current season having led the Bavarians to successive German titles.

Iheanacho has scored eight goals in all competitions for City this season across all competitions and Dickov believes Guardiola will be excited at the prospect of taking the young Nigerian under his wings.

"Pep will be watching Iheanacho and will be excited about the prospect of managing him.

"I remember when Pep was at Barcelona, he got rid of Yaya Toure to bring a young Sergio Busquets in. At the time, people thought he was crazy to do it but it proved the right decision.

"All the youngsters at City now, with the way the club's going and the investment they've had in the academy, are starting to believe they'll get their chance. As much as they can go and buy the top players in the world, they want to bring through top talent as well," Dickov told ESPNFC.

The former City striker then identified Iheanacho’s humility as one of the factors which could shoot him to an even more meteoric rise under Guardiola’s management.

"I think he could be a top, top player," he said. "The thing I like the most is the humility he's got. For a young kid coming through, he scored his hat-trick against Villa and when you listen to his interviews after, or any interviews he's done, he's very mature for his age off the pitch and it also shows on the pitch.

"I've played up front on my own and throughout my career and it's really difficult. For him to come into the team and play that lone striker role - not just his goals, his all round play - shows he has the making of a top player there.

"If you speak to people at the club they say he's a hard worker who wants to learn all the time and he's always asking questions. I've watched him playing at under-21 games over the last 18 months and you can tell he's a [good] player,” he said.

Current City boss, Pellegrini, says he allowed forwards Edin Dzeko and Stevan Jovetic to leave at the start of the season because of his confidence in Iheanacho and Dickov believes it was an astute decision.

"A lot of questions were asked about Manuel at the start of the season about why they didn't sign another striker. I know from within the club they felt they didn't have to because Kelechi was there and ready to go.

"He's forced himself into the team. It's a massive confidence boost to pair him with Aguero for a Premier League match (against Sunderland) and he'll take that confidence in his stride as well," he said.