“We have one – but he is fast, he is intelligent, he is strong in the air, he can play several positions. When he sees the space he will run there immediately.
“When you need to make a correction you just need one to challenge – and he is there. Top player. Top player.”
High praise indeed. And that is why Guardiola would love to see Fernandinho, 31, extend his deal at The Etihad as he revels in his leading midfield role, with thirty-somethings David Silva and Aleksandar Kolarov also rejuvenated under the Spanish boss.
Guardiola added: “I want to give my influence to my players, of course. I want to convince them on the pitch what to believe. But not for the sake of creating new things in English football.
“I didn’t come here just to change things. I want to change my players and when I ask Kolarov and Fernandinho to play in a certain position they know the reason why.