Pep Guardiola has praised Oleksandr Zinchenko for his attitude and work ethic, and revealed his immediate plans for the 20-year-old Ukraine international.
Zinchenko has rarely featured for City this season, with just the one appearance in the Carabao Cup where he played the full 120 minutes as a left-back against Wolves.
But his hard work in training saw him named among the substitutes ahead of Yaya Touré against Huddersfield. And Guardiola has revealed why he made this decision.
“I decided to bring Zinchenko into the squad because he’s training amazing,” Guardiola said in quotes published by the Manchester Evening News.
“I don’t know why UEFA made this rule with the Champions League list. Last season it happened with Yaya and this season with Aleks, with all the players we have in the squad we have to reduce the squad, and we were not able to use him against Feyenoord.
“Against Shakhtar, Zinchenko would play but is not able to, and I wanted to put him on the list because he deserved it.”
Despite a disappointing loan spell at PSV last season, Zinchenko was praised for his ‘first in, last out’ attitude in training, and this has continued at City, which Guardiola pointed out.
“We arrived back at the CFA from Huddersfield on Sunday night after the game and he stayed to train in the gym alone.
“That means a lot to me, because sooner or later he knows we are going to need him.”
And the Man City boss confirmed that Zinchenko will not be loaned out in January, despite having precious few minutes on the pitch. His ability to play at left-back may prove useful if City do not sign a specialist in that position come January.
“He is a talented player, so clear, so clean. The way he plays, his decisions are always perfect. As a young player I hope in the future he will help us,” Pep said.
“He is going to stay for the whole season with us because I have the feeling we are going to use him.”
The Big City Christmas Store is Now Open!
Get your City-themed Christmas jumpers, stocking fillers and other gifts for the family at the City Store!