João Cancelo made a slow start to life at Manchester City following his £60m move from Juventus in the summer of 2019, and doubts soon started to surface as to whether the club were right to sanction another expensive addition to Pep Guardiola’s defensive ranks. However, with Cancelo having settled in, those doubts have swiftly dissipated, and the former Inter Milan and Valencia defender has developed into a key player in a rejuvenated City side.
Able to play on either side of defence and – crucially – also comfortable moving into midfield to add an extra body alongside Rodri when City have the ball, Cancelo has been a revelation. He is affecting play for City at both ends of the pitch, and Guardiola has been impressed with how quickly the Portugal international has taken to his midfield role. “No (he had never played there before),” Guardiola said. “But you see the training sessions, the games, how he moves, how he controls it, how he handles the relationship with teammates inside and outside. Other players in the back cannot play (in midfield), they can play wide, but he has the skills to play there.”