Ilkay Gundogan looks at his Manchester City team-mate David Silva with great admiration, adamant any player would learn just by watching the Spanish playmaker.
Silva joined City in 2010 after rising to prominence in LaLiga with Valencia, persuading the club to fork out a reported £25million for him.
Initially there were doubts about Silva’s suitability to the more physical Premier League, particularly in a central position, but any such reservations were swiftly swept away.
The 33-year-old quickly became a mainstay and his longevity and general excellence have led to some suggesting he is the Premier League’s greatest foreign player.
Gundogan believes his colleague is an example to anyone.
“You learn more about football in general when you watch players like David,” Gundogan said on DAZN’s Talking Tactics show.
“David is extremely strong in the small turns, in decision-making and in the passing game. If you have a midfielder like David against you who plays such passes, then I do not want to be a full-back.
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“It does not matter if you have to go into one-on-one situations against David or defend the passing route – both are extremely difficult.
“Nevertheless, one should always be careful with all esteem. You shouldn’t want to imitate everything [of another player], if it does not fit your own game.”
Gundogan also thinks highly of Mario Gotze, his international colleague and former Borussia Dortmund team-mate.
The City midfielder joined Dortmund in 2011, just after Gotze – then a teenager – had broken into Dortmund’s first-team and looked destined for the top, and Gundogan found his ability intimidating.
“There was once a player [Gotze] I found incredible in training,” he added. “A player I thought, ‘What is he doing?’ This player was Mario Gotze.
“I thought: ‘He must be only 18 or 19?’ I was 20 or 21 years old myself. When I started training at Dortmund, this boy did things in training that made me think, ‘wow, if he does not come all the way up, then I do not know [who will].’ That was overwhelming for me.
“You just did not get the ball [from him]. I have often tried to defend against him. Whether the ball was in the air or on the foot, you did not manage to separate him from the ball.
“Mario has always made the right decisions, whether in dribbling or with a pass.”
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