Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has described Wycombe Wanderers striker Adebayo Akinfenwa as 'a legend of English football', and claimed that playing against the physical forward is 'the best development' for his starlets.
The Spaniard sent out a young and inexperienced defence - four 18-year-olds - to face the Chairboys in Tuesday night's Carabao Cup tie, and they cruised to a 6-1 victory at the Etihad stadium. But City did fall behind on 22 minutes however, and the backline was kept occupied by the impressive power and presence of Wycombe's muscular striker.
Guardiola admitted after the match that it was 'an absolute pleasure' to come up against Akinfenwa, and believes that facing him would be 'the best development' for his up and coming starlets.
"They faced a legend of English football, it was an absolute pleasure to meet him," Guardiola said.
"If every weekend they could play against this legendary striker, that would be the best development for these players.
"It's not easy to do it but they did very well. We are going to review the game and show them how to solve the problems. But there was not one bad performance."
Akinfenwa, widely considered one of - if not the - strongest men in football, gave the young Man City backline a tough evening with his combative style, and almost got on the scoresheet with a header that flashed just beyond the post.
The 39-year-old had promised before the match that he would 'introduce himself' to Guardiola, hoping to make an impression on the Spanish boss. Well, he certainly did that!
He also responded to Guardiola's comments after the game, taking to Twitter and saying, "I don't know bout a legend of the game but I will most defo take the compliment from one of the best managers in the game."
Despite Akinfenwa's best efforts, Wycombe fell to a 6-1 defeat to Man City, as the hosts responded to Brandon Hanlan's opener through first half goals from Kevin de Bruyne, Riyad Mahrez and Phil Foden.
Ferran Torres added a fourth after the break and Cole Palmer put his name on the scoresheet after Mahrez had doubled his own personal tally for the evening. The young rearguard held its own for the rest of the game, and Guardiola was full of praise for their efforts.
"I just have to say thank you to the academy," Guardiola explained. "They all do an incredible job.
"You have the feeling that we have not just one or two potential players but many of them. The academy gives them the right values to become good professional players and they have the talent.
"We have the feeling that we can count on them. We saw it today a little bit and we know how good they are. As manager of the first team, I can enjoy it, I can use them."
Source : 90min