Football

Guardiola: Roberts has potential

Guardiola will assess on-loan winger for a season before deciding if he has a future at City

GROUP C
MAN CITY CELTIC
1 1
(Kelechi Iheanacho 8) (Patrick Roberts 4)

Pep Guardiola seemed reluctant to talk up Patrick Roberts after the on-loan Manchester City attacker scored for Celtic against his parent club.

Teenager Roberts struck just four minutes into his return to the Etihad Stadium as Scottish champions Celtic held City to a 1-1 draw in their final Champions League Group C game yesterday morning (Singapore time).

The 19-year-old winger, signed by City in an £11-million (S$20m) deal from Fulham last year, joined Celtic on an 18-month deal in February.

Asked for an opinion on the 19-year-old's performance, City manager Guardiola said: "He scored a good goal."

Guardiola was then asked whether Roberts could have a future at City.

The Spaniard said: "We are going to talk about it at the end of the season."

Pushed further, Guardiola finally offered more praise.

THE DECISION

He said: "We know his quality, but the decision is not about one game.

"It is for one season for the perspective.

"We are going to speak with him, the managers (agents), between each other we are going to decide.

"He has good quality with the winger, one against one.

"He worked defensively.

"He has, of course, potential.

"He played well, he's a good player.

"We are going to think about (him) at the end of the season."

Roberts revealed that he was congratulated by Guardiola after the game.

"He said, 'Well done', so that was nice of him," said Roberts.

"It is not every day you get to score in the Champions League, especially in a stadium like this against a team like that so I am very pleased."

Guardiola's opposite number Brendan Rodgers was more forthcoming on his star, whose early strike was quickly cancelled out by Kelechi Iheanacho.

The former Liverpool manager said: "It couldn't have been easy for him, but the kid showed his quality.

"It's great that City allow him to play in a game like this.

TOP YOUNG TALENT

"You've seen a top, young English talent here - a brilliant goal, pressed the game well and showed all his qualities.

"I'm sure he'll come back here in the summer and Pep and his staff will have a real good look at him. They will be really encouraged with what they've seen here."

With City already assured of qualification and unable to take top spot in the group, Guardiola made nine changes and was pleased with his side's performance.

He said: "I am so happy.

"We played really good against a good team.

"The experienced players helped a lot the young players and it was a good experience for them." - PA SPORT

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