(Written by Tom Cayless for CW2)
Pep Guardiola has managed in three of Europe’s top five leagues, including the Premier League, Bundesliga and La Liga, with major success in all.
Whilst managing in Spain from 2008 to 2012, Spain won the 2010 World Cup and the European Championships two years later. Eight of the Spain squad that travelled to South Africa in 2010 played under Pep at Barcelona, five of them started the final against Holland.
After a year’s break, the current Manchester City boss moved to Bavaria where he took over German giants, Bayern Munich. Just 10 months after Pep arrived in Munich, Joachim Low took his national side to the Brazil World Cup, in which they won.
Seven members of the Germany squad were playing under Guardiola at the time of the tournament. Six of the seven started in the final and the seventh, Mario Gotze, came off the bench to score the winner in extra-time.
Now you may be thinking what does Guardiola have to do with these wins and it could be a coincidence but I believe not.
Guardiola simply makes players better.
Having a large selection of players in your national team squad that are coached by the best coach in the world day in and day out is only going to significantly increase your chances.
Yes, in the England squad there won’t be as many players from Guardiola’s current club this time around but there are a strong core of four players who are all so important to the Three Lions this summer.
Kyle Walker, John Stones, Phil Foden and Raheem Sterling all look shoo-ins for EURO 2020. A crop of Guardiola defenders, midfielders and forwards.
If the tournament was played last summer, as scheduled, Stones would have almost certainly not be wearing the Three Lions shirt but after this season’s revival he’s England’s number one choice in the centre of defence.
When he arrived from Everton in 2016, he was one of Guardiola’s first signings and was regarded as a ‘Guardiola type player.’ He turned out to be a liability and fans wanted him out the side.
As for this season, it’s another story. Alongside Ruben Dias, he’s become City’s first choice. Pep and his coaching staff have to take part credit for this sudden turn around. He is now England’s first choice centre back and is key for England this summer.
One of England’s strongest positions is right-back and Kyle Walker is right up there for first choice. Trent Alexander-Arnold has been poor this season and consequently Walker can make the right back spot his own, he can also play as a centre back in a back three, providing a great option for Gareth Southgate.
Perhaps one of the players Guardiola has had the biggest impact on is Raheem Sterling. He may have not been on top form as of late, but is one of a few English players with world class ability. Many credit Guardiola for Sterling’s development, they’d be correct in doing so.
Foden is the final Englishmen at City. One of England’s star talents in this so-called ‘golden generation.’ Training with the likes of Siva, De Bruyne and Aguero since the age of 16, and with Guardiola all he’s ever known as for managers, he’s going straight to the top. For the now and for the future – Phil Foden.
It’s no coincidence these players are where they are now. Hard work on and off the pitch, but there’s a strong reason to suggest they wouldn’t have developed into the talents they are without Guardiola.
His involvement only enhances the English national team and their chances of glory at EURO 2020.
featured image credit – Josep „Pep“ Guardiola, Bayern München – https://www.flickr.com/people/48861782@N05