Gabriel Jesus was one of the most impressive performers for Manchester City as they thrashed Norwich City on Saturday, with the Brazilian thriving in his new role as a winger, with much of the credit going to Pep Guardiola for his decision to play him out there.
The 24-year-old, who has featured predominantly as a striker during his time at the Etihad, might not have featured on the scoresheet against the Canaries but he did pick up two assists for Jack Grealish and Raheem Sterling, whilst also playing a key role in the opening goal, as his cross resulted in an own goal.
Following the game, Guardiola praised the former Palmeiras man’s influence ion this Manchester City side, saying:
“If one person deserves respect and prizes and everything, it is him [Jesus] because he never complains. He is fantastic and all of us have to learn from him
“He can play as a striker, he can play left, he can play right – always what the team needs. He can play 10 minutes from the bench and he will play the best 10 minutes he can play.”
Given that City have spent much of the summer trying to sign Harry Kane as their replacement for Sergio Aguero, as well as spending £100m to bring Jack Grealish, many may have wondered where Jesus would fit into the side.
Juventus were said to be interested in the forward earlier in the summer and it would not have been a surprise to see him depart in order to raise funds in a potential deal for Kane, but after his superb performance at the weekend, it seems clear that Guardiola wants to keep him at the Etihad.
Although there is no doubting his talent, the Brazilian clearly lacks the goalscoring instinct of a top striker, with Guardiola preferring Ferran Torres through the middle in the games so far this season.
Whilst he previously was a source of frustration for City fans playing as a striker, Jesus was able to showcase his ability on the ball against the Canaries when playing out wide, and looked like a completely new player.
Therefore, Guardiola deserves a lot of credit for making the decision to convert him into a winger, and if he can maintain the form he showed on Saturday throughout the campaign, he could prove to be a hugely important player for the Citizens this season.
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