Pep Guardiola believes Leroy Sane, Gabriel Jesus and Leroy Sane can be the future of Manchester City after the forward trio started in tandem for the first time during Saturday’s 3-0 FA Cup win at Crystal Palace.
Sterling, 22, latched on to a fine throughball from Brazil striker Jesus – making his full City debut at Selhurst Park – to open the scoring two minutes before half-time and the 21-year-old Sane crowned a counter-attack orchestrated by David Silva in the 71st minute.
Jesus was brought down in stoppage time by Joe Ledley for Yaya Toure to crown a place in round five with a sumptuous free-kick and, with Sergio Aguero sidelined by a knock, Guardiola was delighted by how the teenager led the line.
“[Jesus] helped us a lot. He is so aggressive even though he is not a tall, tall guy,” the former Barcelona boss told a post-match news conference.
“It is the first game so it is not easy for him to communicate. He doesn’t speak English so he will need time but he makes a lot of movements.
“The pass for the first goal is outstanding.
“We cannot forget that we played with three strikers who are 19, 21 and 22.
“They are so, so young. It is the future for Manchester City and all three they played really good.”
Sane joined City from Schalke during the close season, like Sterling the year before and new recruit Jesus at considerable expense to refresh an aging squad.
His start to life in England was hindered by form and fitness problems but, having suffered a recurrence of hamstring pain on the back of his maiden City goal versus Arsenal in December, the Germany international has returned to Guardiola’s starting line-up with two in two.
“You don’t need to be a manager to realise his improvement,” Sane’s boss added.
“After the game against Arsenal and his injury he realised he had to make a step forward and he did it.
“Not just in terms of the goals – in the last three games he played, three goals – it is not just about that.
“Also in terms of being involved in our game, not just in the actions and running in behind – the quality, the fighting.
“We cannot forget it is not easy for a player from another country to come here at 20 years old and play at a big club where always he has no other option than to win, win, win.
“It is good news for us, really good news.”
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