Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has heaped praise on Eric Garcia, as the club prepares to begin discussions with the player’s representatives over a new deal.
The 18-year-old has made 14 appearances in all competitions for the Sky Blues this season and is considered one of the club’s brightest prospects. Garcia has started the last two matches in the Premier League, most recently featuring in the win over Everton.
The best way to start the New Year! What a great performance from the team today! thanks for the support once again!! It’s time to focus on the next game now pic.twitter.com/pF3qbAUMv8
— Eric Garcia Martret (@ericgm3) January 1, 2020
City boss Guardiola has praised the youngster’s footballing intelligence, claiming that there aren’t many players who have a similar understanding of the game at such a young age.
“[Sergio] Busquets was so curious to know that in that age, 17 or 18 – there are not many,” Guardiola said ahead of City’s FA Cup clash with League Two Port Vale, as quoted by Goal.
“In the squad there are people who love to understand the game and talk tactics and others who don’t. That doesn’t mean it’s good or bad. But Eric is a guy who likes to know why. Why? Why the reason why? When he makes a mistake he understands quickly.
“He will continue to make mistakes, of course. But when you have a guy who knows how to be stable – it’s important to be stable if you are a central defender, he’s always a seven or eight, not make an incredible performance but not make a lot of mistakes, and Eric in this situation as a young player that is always stable.”
Goal note that although the City man has two-and-a-half years remaining on his current deal, director of football Txiki Begiristain is set to sit down with the player’s representatives ‘in the next few weeks’ to discuss a new long-term contract.
Guardiola has claimed that considering his age, it is understandable why they are keen to extend his stay at the club. He added: “I didn’t speak with Txiki, honestly, but when a player is 18, the club will want to extend the contract but the situation, I don’t know.”
Garcia was previously part of Barcelona’s La Masia before he joined the Manchester based side. His manager has further praised his maturity and professionalism, adding: “I heard something about him he was in the Barcelona academy, he was the captain in all the youth teams, he arrived here and he was immediately a captain.
“That is how well he has settled in the team because he’s a lovely guy, well-educated, knows exactly what he has to.
The former Barcelona boss revealed that he has not made life easy for the teenager, playing him on the left-hand side of the defence, in both a back four and a back three. However, Guardiola was impressed with how he has coped.
“I’m not a nice guy,” Guardiola joked. “He’s comfortable playing on the right foot, not the left. It is not easy but he’s slotted in so well. He’s helped us in this period with a lot of problems.”