Bernardo Silva will be given the chance to win a place the starting XI for Sunday’s derby when Manchester City face Shakhtar Donetsk.
The City playmaker has been forced to wait for his chance to show what he can do after arriving from Monaco in the summer.
But the Portuguese international has played only a bit part role in City’s spectacular start to the season.
The form of Leroy Sane, Raheem Sterling, David Silva and Kevin de Bruyne has blocked every route to Guardiola’s first team for a player with the versatility to operate in a number of positions.
That Bernardo is guaranteed to start the meaningless Champions League Group F finale against Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday speaks volumes about his struggles to establish himself at City.
These are early days – but after being one of the stand out performers of a Monaco side that stunned Europe last season, both he and City would have expected more of an impact.
Silva’s injury, which makes him a doubt for Sunday’s clash against Manchester United could present Bernardo with the opportunity to make a rare Premier League start.
While comparisons can be made with Sane, who struggled to cope with English football in his first months at City, Guardiola insists Bernardo is ready to come straight into his side.
“Leroy needed time to adapt a bit – to the way we play,” said the City manager. “Bernardo doesn’t – he believes and is ready to play.
“It’s because I decide (that he doesn’t).
“My feeling is that he’s playing at a high level.
“Leroy was not confident at the start of last season, he didn’t believe how good he was.
“Bernardo is very good. It’s so difficult to leave him out.
“Bernardo is in the same situation as Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero. He’s able to play and has amazing quality and personality.
“He is not scared. It doesn’t matter where he plays.
“But other players are on top form.”
Ilkay Gundogan and Phil Foden are also set to feature against Donetsk as Guardiola rests a host of his players ahead of Sunday.
But he insists he is determined to make it six straight wins in the group stages and stretch City’s run to 20 victories in succession in all competitions.
“We play to win the game, I promise you,” he added. “And next Sunday too – but I assure you that sooner or later we’ll lose.”
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