Ilkay Gundogan: Pep Guardiola reflects on how people laughed when he says Gundogan can be a striker

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Ilkay Gundogan has been the biggest revelation since the new year began. The 30-year-old midfielder has currently recorded more goals than any other footballer across the top five leagues in Europe.

Since 2021 began, Ilkay Gundogan has been the only player in Europe top 5 leagues who has scored 9 goals in 9 league games. The German midfielder has scored a total of 11 goals and provided 2 assists in 18 Premier League games so far this season.

The Manchester City football star recorded 4 of his 11 league goals in the club’s last two Premier League games. While the Germany international scored 6 goals in City’s last 5 league games.

Ilkay Gundogan became a talking point on Saturday night, February 13 when he led Manchester City to defeat Tottenham Hotspur 3-0. The German football star was so instrumental for City that he contributed to the three goals the club scored against Tottenham.

The midfielder kicked off his battle against Spurs when he was fouled in Tottenham’s penalty box which earned City a spot-kick. Rodri took the kick to give City the lead in the 23rd minute.

When the second half kicked off, Manchester City continued with their effort to inflict more wounds on Tottenham. The person at the forefront of the onslaught was Ilkay Gundogan.

Ilkay Gundogan
Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola and his midfielder Ilkay Gundogan.

The German International took the initiative and scored City’s second goal in the 50th minute. His scoring ability came to play again when he scored City’s third goal in the 66th minute.

After the game which ended 3-0 in favor of Manchester City, Pep Guardiola revealed that he has always said that the midfielder could be converted into a false 9 (striker). He noted that it was always funny to people whenever he says that.

“I said many times he could play as a striker, as a false nine, and people laughed,” said Guardiola. “I understood why because he didn’t do it here. But he has the sense to arrive at the goal.

“Today it was the action for a clear penalty and after he had the quality to score the two goals. He has the tempo to arrive there. He is so good in these moments.

“He won the award for player of the month. If he keeps playing this way in February, he is going to win it again.

“He is playing closer to the box. When Fernandinho was out two seasons ago he was a holding midfielder, where it was difficult to score goals.

“Now he plays close to the striker and he has an incredible sense to do movements to the box. Then there is the finishing. When a guy shoots the way he did for the second goal, Lloris cannot stop it.”

The win over Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday has kept Manchester City rooted in the first spot on the league table, 7 points away from second-placed Leicester City that have played one game more than Man City.

Pep Guardiola and his boys are yet to record a defeat since November 21 when Tottenham Hotspur defeated them 2-0 in a Premier League match.