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Manchester City starlet Manu García: Pep Guardiola wants me to return as a man

Manu García has joined Dutch second division side and Manchester City partner club, NAC Breda, for the rest of the season after a disappointing loan spell in La Liga with Alavés.

City sent the promising 19-year-old to Spain’s top flight in the hopes that playing at such a high level would continue his development, but he was starved of game time and recalled this month.

Although the Dutch second tier is a significant step down from La Liga, Manu will be guaranteed plenty of minutes on the pitch, which at this stage of his career is the most important thing.

The teenager has been speaking to BN DeStem about the move and more, and his comments on Alavés and Pep Guardiola were of particular interest.

Speaking of his disappointing loan switch back to Spain and decision to move to the Netherlands, García explained, “The football was not me. Too defensive and too little with the ball. NAC’s philosophy is better for me. Lots of the ball and young players have who get a chance to improve. From speaking to people from the club, City players already there, and after watching videos, I have a good idea of NAC. This step was a deliberate choice.”

García made the bold move of swapping Sporting Gijón for Manchester City a few years ago, and was asked to talk about that. “For me, it was a great opportunity to broaden my horizons. I always wanted to play in England. The Premier League has enormous appeal and I wanted to experience it. The beginning was tough, without family and in a country where I didn’t speak the language. The first two years I lived with a host family and that way I learned English.”

And what about Pep Guardiola? He is a dream coach for many young footballers to work with, and Manu has crossed paths with him already. The Spaniard explained that he and Guardiola had a discussion in summer, “He said to me, ‘It’s good if you play somewhere else for a while. I want you to come back as a man.'”

Hopefully the experience in Breda can push Manu García closer to Manchester City’s first-team squad. The youngster has already played four times for the senior team, scoring one goal against Aston Villa in the League Cup.

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