‘Clubs want him in the Premier League’ – BT Sport panel praise RB Leipzig’s Josko Gvardiol after first leg performance


Josko Gvardiol showed that he could slot into the Premier League after his performance in the Champions League in the first leg of the last-16 tie against Manchester City, says Nedum Onuoha.

The Croatian defender scored RB Leipzig’s equaliser against City, and limited Erling Haaland’s chances on goal, as the Bundesliga side held Pep Guardiola’s charges to a 1-1 draw.

Ahead of Man City’s second-leg match against RB Leipzig, the BT Sport panel spoke about how Gvardiol could fit in the Premier League based on his style of play.

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“I think he’s been incredible. And when you look at how young he is as well, this is why there is so much interest in him, [clubs want] to bring him to the Premier League now,” said Onuoha, who played for Manchester City between 2004 and 2012.

“I was also impressed with the goal he scored as well. It felt like a very ‘British-type’ header at the back post, jumping on someone’s shoulders to score.

“I would not like to mark him from corners in the Premier League. The way he plays, he’s just on the front foot.

“And with someone like Haaland, he’s a fantastic player, but people aren’t as good when you apply pressure to them. And I think in [the first leg], we saw that a lot. It was a very impressive performance.”

Owen Hargreaves was also full of praise for the centre-back, saying: “Vital contribution in the first leg. Not just his goal but his defensive contribution. We haven’t seen many defenders get the best of Erling Haaland, and he did that.

“And it was just the fundamentals. I think defenders are recognised now for how good they are in possession and what they bring to the offensive side of the game, but first and foremost, you have to defend your goal.”

Rio Ferdinand added: “He was happy to have the battle. And that’s the one thing I’ve been crying out for from centre-halves. I want to see people go up against [forwards], and say ‘Alright, you and me, one v one, let’s have it.’ And he did that very well.

“One of his best attributes is actually his calmness and confidence on the ball. I would actually go as far as to say that in terms of driving out with the ball and coming out with the ball, he’s up there with the top two or three in the world at the moment because he’s so composed and so calm at doing that.

“He ventures out, and most of the time, finds the right pass. He’s so comfortable. I love everything about him.

“I think he’s the real deal this kid.”

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Watch UEFA Champions League action live via the BT Sport website or app.


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