Three Man City players could be forced to switch positions due to Raheem Sterling’s English form – Joe Bray
Just a month ago, Raheem Sterling was staring at Manchester City’s exit door as Phil Foden stole his left-winger spot for club and country.
That’s what some skeptics or short-term thinkers would have had you believe, anyway, after Sterling’s frustrating end to the season for City.
Fast forward four games to Euro 2020, and Sterling suddenly becomes the Golden Boy again, seizing the opportunity to score three of England’s four goals so far. He’s a nailed-down starter in tonight’s quarter-final against Ukraine, while Phil Foden may have to settle for a place on the bench again.
Foden may have been unlucky enough to drop England’s starting lineup for the last two games with the yellow card in his name counting against him as Gareth Southgate did not want to risk a suspension for a key player. As a result, Foden sidelined against the Czech Republic and Germany.
Bukayo Saka and Jack Grealish have impressed in his absence, along with Sterling, so Foden will work hard to prove to Southgate that he is worthy to start in the last attacking position against Ukraine.
And with a reborn Sterling rediscovering his form on the left, perhaps Foden will face a similar challenge when he returns to City.
The chatter of Sterling’s departure was flatly stopped. Now he has to be favorites to start the new season as the first pick on the left as he has been for much of the past two or three seasons. If Foden is to continue his streak in 2021, he might have more joy on the opposite flank like he did for England.
Likewise, Bernardo Silva may also have to change positions to accommodate Guardiola’s plans. With Sterling, Foden, Riyad Mahrez and Ferran Torres all entering the new campaign with momentum, then Bernardo’s days of operating in the top six could be over.
Perhaps a more permanent return to center is better for No.20, especially after some quiet performances on the right wing for Portugal at Euro 2020. Bernardo filled impressively for Kevin De Bruyne, and would be a good option to compete with the Belgian and Ilkay Gundogan for both midfield roles under Guardiola.
And a third player could come out of Euro 2020 with a new job, as Ferran Torres continues to impress for Spain.
If Sterling locks the left wing, it increases competition on the right. Torres showed his promise as a center forward when asked to substitute last season, and has been prolific at Euro 2020.
There is no guarantee that City will sign a new forward this season, despite all their hopes of signing Harry Kane, so having Torres as an option in the central attacking zones can boost Guardiola’s decision-making.
The beauty of the players City is recruiting is their ability to play in multiple positions. After the different form of different players at Euro 2020, this versatility could be vital in determining how Guardiola lines up his players in the opening games of the new season.