In a bid to maintain Manchester City’s attacking prowess, Pep Guardiola has issued a rallying cry to wingers Jack Grealish and Jeremy Doku, urging them to demonstrate their worth in the team.
Grealish, who played a pivotal role in City’s triumphant treble campaign last season, has encountered a challenging season marred by injuries. Despite being a record-breaking £100 million signing for the club in 2021, his time on the pitch has been limited this year.
During Grealish’s absence due to injury, young Belgian talent Jeremy Doku has stepped into the limelight, impressing with his performances.
Guardiola’s call to action signifies a competitive battle for a coveted spot in City’s formidable attacking lineup
Doku, signed from Rennes in the close-season, offers a different kind of threat on the flanks than Grealish and some City fans have called for the 21-year-old to start in Saturday’s Premier League clash at Wolves.
“Jeremy can play on the right as well. So who is going to play more, who is going to perform better?” Guardiola told reporters on Friday.
“Phil Foden can play on the left too. So they compete with Phil Foden as well.
“The guy who performs well and feels better than the other one is going to have more chances to play. Always it has been like that.”
City have made a flying start to their title defence with six wins from six games.
Guardiola’s men are chasing an unprecedented fourth successive Premier League crown and the Spaniard laughed off suggestions his side will cruise to victory at Molineux against a Wolves side that have taken just four points from six games.
“Normally all the games we play are ‘easy’ – and if we don’t win the Premier League, 10 points in front, in November, it’s a disaster! I know exactly what it is,” he said sarcastically.
“(Wolves boss Gary) O’Neil did an incredible job at Bournemouth and I have the feeling they will do it too.
“It is a team where the quality is there. Hopefully we can respond with these next three games before the international break.”
City will again be without John Stones and Bernardo Silva this weekend.
England defender Stones has not played since City’s Community Shield clash with Arsenal on August 6 due to a thigh issue.
Silva has been sidelined after he came off against Red Star Belgrade in the Champions League last week.
City also have Rodri out while the Spain midfielder serves the second game of his three-match ban after being sent off in last Saturday’s 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest.
“Just for the amount Rodri has played, the consistency – of course, it is not easy to replace,” Guardiola added.