The objective is to continue progressing” – Lewis discusses Manchester City’s development and Pep’s extraordinary praise
Rico Lewis has identified Phil Foden as a crucial factor in his rise to the Manchester City squad, and has also expressed his desire for a more consistent midfield role in the future.
Lewis, who has made nine appearances for City this season, broke into the first-team squad at the Etihad last season, with Pep Guardiola utilizing the 18-year-old in various positions, from right and left-back to central midfield alongside Rodri in City’s flexible 3-2-4-1 formation.
In an exclusive interview with TNT Sports ahead of City’s UEFA Champions League clash with Young Boys on Tuesday, Lewis remained humble when reflecting on his journey so far, but expressed excitement about the opportunities that lie ahead. He highlighted Foden’s pathway into the senior squad as an inspiration for his own development.
“That was one of the key things for my journey when Phil made it to the first team,” Lewis said. “Seeing how he has become so beneficial and important to the squad, vital to the way Pep plays. We were in the same position and seeing the way forward.”
Lewis also discussed the self-confidence he had in himself as he progressed through City’s academy system.
“I always believed I would play for City, but many people say that and want it to be true. I believed it and fortunately, it’s working out for me now.”
With his versatility comes the question of Lewis’ preferred position, and he admitted that he would like to play in midfield, where he has often filled in alongside Rodri, either as a defensive midfielder or as an inverted full-back.
“The position isn’t too important to me; I just love playing, especially with this team. But I do enjoy playing in midfield a lot because it involves both sides of the game,” Lewis said.
“I like to attack, get forward, and press high, being more effective in the final third as well. I would probably say a midfield role like the one I played at Leipzig. That was one of the best games I’ve played, and I felt so comfortable in that position.”
Guardiola quickly recognized Lewis’ talents and brought him into the fold last season, where he excelled in both full-back positions.
Regarding Guardiola, Lewis said, “It’s fantastic to have Guardiola’s trust, but it’s also surreal. You never think that a manager of his caliber will even notice you when you’re young, and for him to show so much respect towards me is unbelievable. It’s still hard to believe, like a dream.”
Some have credited Lewis as a significant influence on John Stones’ role in the City setup, with the natural center-back drifting into midfield to create numerical advantages and support the ball’s progression up the pitch.
“I don’t see it that way,” Lewis said. “In every game and training session, I’ve done what I’ve been told to do, and I’ll take the credit they’ve given me. But I believe it all comes from him.”
Looking ahead to the future, the young talent is eager to continue improving as he aims to secure a more regular spot in City’s starting 11.
“The objective is to keep getting better and not rush anything, gradually seeing myself improve and develop in all areas that I need to. Hopefully, one day I can be someone who can be trusted to play week in, week out and relied upon, regardless of the position.