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English Premier League

Ederson offers to play out of goal for rampant Manchester City … they probably don’t even need a ‘keeper!

Brazilian, who started his career at left-back, has been an integral addition as Pep Guardiola’s side chase more history

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 December, 2017, 6:43pm
UPDATED : Friday, 22 December, 2017, 6:49pm

Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson has jokingly offered to play outfield for Pep Guardiola’s rampant side as they close in on one of European football’s most prestigious records.

The Premier League leaders host struggling Bournemouth in their final home game of 2017 seeking a 17th consecutive league victory, which would be just two short of the current best for such streak in the five major European leagues.

Guardiola himself set that 19-game mark while in charge of Bayern Munich and, with relatively modest opposition coming up in the form of Newcastle, Crystal Palace and Watford, City appear well-positioned to set a record.

Ederson has been one of the key additions to this season’s City team, having joined in a £35 million (US$47 million) move from Benfica last summer, with his ability on the ball a vital component in Guardiola’s trademark passing game.

“When I started my career, I was actually a left-back and I do have some qualities playing with my feet,” said the Brazilian.

“It’s a huge responsibility to play at the back, there is no room for mistakes, so I must be constantly focused to give my best.”

“But if there was a situation where I was ever needed outfield, yeah, I’d definitely give it a go,” he added.

City are scoring so freely at the moment, but defence appears to be Guardiola’s one concern, with injury-plagued captain Vincent Kompany again a doubt for the Bournemouth visit with a muscular problem.

With John Stones still not quite ready to return from his own injury lay-off, that will probably leave Eliaquim Mangala to partner Nicolas Otamendi in the heart of the City defence.

Guardiola has hinted broadly he will seek to sign established defensive cover in the January transfer window, with Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk, West Brom’s Jonny Evans and James Tarkowski of Burnley all being linked with City.

In the meantime, it is still unclear whether inspirational playmaker David Silva, who has been in his native Spain for a week for unspecified “personal reasons”, will return for the start of the holiday fixture list.