Rico Lewis is the latest “Pep Guardiola project” to succeed. The Spanish manager is known for his eye for talent and for plucking certain players out of relative obscurity and onto putting them on the world’s stage. With his aide, Lewis has quickly grown into an important player for the champions of Europe.
But just what are the qualities that recommend Rico Lewis for greatness? What are the stats that suggested to Guardiola that this was a player that could slide into a first-team filled with world-class footballers?
Today, we’ll briefly look at the evolution of Rico Lewis and why you might just need to consider him for your fantasy football on a weekly basis.
Rico Lewis and Manchester City’s youth development
Rico Lewis is the latest success story of Manchester City’s youth development. And while in recent years, a number of players from the youth academy have made it into the first team sheet, most famously Phil Fodden, City’s aim is not necessarily that of improving Guardiola’s side. It’s just an added bonus.
Between 2014 and 2018 alone, Manchester City made more than £70 million from the sale of academy graduates. In order words, Man City produces future Premier League prospects not just for themselves. They focus especially on working with the clubs that could not be able to afford them the same opportunities to develop.
Who are some of the famous former Man. City academy graduates? Of the recent host of EPL players, we can mention Phil Fodden, Kelechi Iheanacho, Romeo Lavia, Oscar Bobb, Michael Olise, and Jadon Sancho.
Not all of these stars went on to have careers at Manchester City. Why did Rico Lewis succeed? By all accounts, he is admired by Pep Guardiola and rewarded by the manager’s belief.
Lewis was dropped into the first team in the second half of last season. City’s manager namechecked him as one of the principal reasons why the team managed to retain the Premier League title. And Lewis hasn’t even turned 19 yet.
What’s Rico Lewis’ best position? According to manager Pep Guardiola, Rico Lewis plays best in “hybrid right-back/central midfield.”
However, like most of City’s players, the youngster is capable of taking on multiple roles and shifting in various positions. Rico Lewis’ position has been that of left-back, as a defensive midfielder, and even behind the attacking line.
With Guardiola, creative players are expected to take on almost directorial roles at various times in the game. Their teammates are expected to provide the support. Rico Lewis is able to be both the star and part of the supporting cast.
What are Rico Lewis’ greatest strengths? The youngster is a dynamo of a player. Not surprisingly, he is very comfortable with the ball at his feet. His passing and dribbling are excellent.
Rico Lewis has a pass completion ratio of over 90% across matches played over the last year. He contributes 2.8 shot-creating actions per 90 minutes. He makes 1.89 progressive carries., on average, per game and is on the receiving end of 3.36 progressive passes per 90 mins.
Rico Lewis was introduced into the team, largely at the time that Joao Cancelo had a falling out with Pep Guardiola. Cancelo was quickly moved on Lewis became the preferred full-back choice, but the two players have different characteristics.
Lewis, unlike Cancelo, hasn’t shown great tackling ability. His defensive contributions are subtle. He creates chances through passing rather than through crossing.
Still, Guardiola has been able to work around these shortcomings, and there is hope that Lewis can still improve in these areas.
Should you have Rico Lewis on your fantasy football team?
Rico Lewis was named, by many publications, as Man of the Match in City’s 3-1 victory over Young Boys in the Champions League. He played alongside Rodri, returning from suspension, and was greatly praised by Pep Guardiola for his performance.
Lewis was also an important player in recent matches against Newcastle, RB Leipzig and Arsenal. Rodri’s return doesn’t seem to imply that the youngster will automatically lose his spot in the first eleven.
In truth, his performances across this season have varied. However, Guardiola’s track record of endorsing players speaks for itself. Having lauded Lewis after the match against Young Boys, it is very likely he will continue to favor the player.
With this in mind, and considering that Rico Lewis is still only a 2* rated player in FootballCoin, we suggest considering picking him on a weekly basis for the fantasy football game.