The teenager featured in the FA Cup against Swindon, highlighting his characteristics as an ideal fit for Guardiola’s system.
There were a number of factors that led Manchester City to accept Barcelona’s €55m offer for Ferran Torres before Christmas.
The Spain international has not adapted well to life in Manchester during the pandemic, struggling to secure a regular starting berth and Torres was bent on a move once Barca announced their interest in signing him in early December.
While Manchester City know it’s not a good idea to keep Torres against his wishes, with the emergence of homegrown attacker Cole Palmer, Manchester City also believe that selling Torres during the season will not hurt the team’s pursuit of the title. This season, Palmer has shown that he has the potential to be a better fit for Guardiola’s system than Torres.
Torres’ main success at City has been in his time as a centre-forward, but it’s clear that despite City’s failed pursuit of Kane last summer, Torres is unlikely to have a long-term future in that position.
Guardiola remains keen to bring in a central striker for his side in the coming months, so Torres is more likely to return to his more familiar wing position.
Ironically, however, Torres is more of an English winger at a time when City have turned to a continental style.
Whoever starts in Pep Guardiola’s front five will be technically gifted and intelligent footballers who know how to break down the opposition’s defences.
Despite being only 19 years old, Palmer has shown his talent and speed of thinking, and when he gets the chance, he can blend in with his teammates.
This was on full display in the 4-1 FA Cup win over Swindon, when Palmer created the opening chance for the B seat before scoring the fourth goal himself.
The first goal was a perfect example of what Guardiola was asking for, as the teenager showed great individual skill, showing he had a clear sense of his team-mate’s position by fooling the Swindon defender before delivering an assist for the B-seat clear understanding.
“I’m delighted to work with him, he’s very good,” England U21 assistant Ashley Cole said of the match as an ITV pundit.
“He’s a very smart winger, he has a bright future and he’s on his way to the first team, hopefully.”
Chances will be critical if Palmer is to progress and eventually represent the Three Lions. He has played for England at different ages since he was a schoolboy and is now a regular starter for the U21s who have contributed Smith Rowe and Conor Gallagher to the senior team this year Wait for the teenager.
Playing for the national team helps Palmer keep more game time, while he struggles to become a regular for Pep Guardiola’s side. The win over Swindon was his 11th appearance of the season, but only his fourth start, with a total of 413 first-team minutes in five competitions so far in 2021-22.
After discovering his potential, Manchester City took a similar approach to Palmer as they integrated Phil Foden. This involved training with the first team for a long time, coming on as a substitute and starting in sporadic cup matches.
It can be a frustratingly slow process for observers and some players, with others deciding they would rather take the quicker route into the first team. Foden doesn’t regret showing patience, while United’s Jadon Sancho and Barca’s Garcia may also be content with their departure from City to seek quicker first-team opportunities.
The easing of restrictions on the prevention and control of the epidemic this season has also made it easier for players like Palmer to move back and forth between the first team and the U23 echelon, which was not allowed at the peak of the epidemic.
He has made seven starts for City’s youth team this season, including a 5-0 win over Leicester City, where he completed a hat-trick that day. On the same day, he came off the bench in the first team’s Premier League win over Burnley.
Playing both games at the same time was a decision made by Guardiola, academy coach Brian Barry Murphy and Palmer himself, underscoring his enthusiasm and desire to keep improving.
Meanwhile, England internationals Kyle Walker, Sterling and Stones have also made him feel welcome in a first-team environment, giving the Whiteshawe man the confidence to show his talent when the opportunity arises.
“When I first got promoted to the first team, I thought: ‘Wow, I’m playing with guys like De Bruyne,'” he said after Friday’s game.
“I wouldn’t say it’s normal, but I’m getting used to it every day, training and playing with them and I’m enjoying it.”
“They make me feel at home here every day. It’s not just on the pitch, it’s off the pitch as well. They all give me advice on what to do and what not to do, so I really enjoy it .”
No one has any illusions about success at Manchester City. Against Swindon, the outbreak in Manchester City meant they lost seven first-team players and 16 staff, but Palmer still played alongside 10 internationals.
Guardiola himself has been affected, but he is likely to return to the dugout for Saturday’s top-flight clash with Chelsea, and if City can get the virus under control, so will most of the first-team players.
But if the pandemic cuts down on Guardiola’s options, the Manchester City boss won’t hesitate to add Palmer to his starting line-up.
“It’s no secret to anyone that Palmer is obviously a genius,” said Guardiola’s assistant Borrell.
“It’s important to be patient and keep working hard because you still have to work hard and then, when you have the opportunity, show your talent. When he has the opportunity to show, he needs to show his talent consistently. ”
“But he’s obviously a player of great quality and potential, which is great for our club and Palmer as a player.”