Bernardo Silva came to Manchester City with a high price tag and high expectations, but we’ve yet to see all of his skills on display consistently. Why is that the case?
Pep Guardiola has proven in the past he’s not so subtle when going through a transitional period of great players. His tendency is to push players out or leave them to second tier competitions until their time or patience runs out. Yaya Touré is a great example.
With Bernardo Silva however, Guardiola appears to have learned that picking the right time for the player’s involvement is essential. By name and by style, Bernardo seems like the ideal replacement for David Silva. The Portuguese playmaker has the ability to play anywhere in midfield while doing his job defensively, and while the Spanish magician David isn’t ready to relinquish his place yet, all City supporters should be looking out for Bernardo.
Anyone who’s paid close attention to City’s transfers the last couple years knows that transitioning to the Premier League is no easy task, and many players fall short of the mark. For Bernardo, Pep is allowing him to acclimate and play to his strengths as he adapts to the team and the system.
As October and November approach and tougher matches come City’s way, we should expect Bernardo to come in after an hour or so to find spaces inside any defense that hasn’t been broken into yet. In Wednesday night’s League Cup against West Bromwich Albion, Bernardo provided exactly that bit of special quality by taking the ball in his own box, leading the counter and assisting the sensational game-winner from Leroy Sané.
When Bernardo Silva does finally break into the first team and becomes a regular starter, I have to imagine the skill and movement of Sergio Agüero and Gabriel Jesus constantly making great runs will bring out the free-flowing, goal-making player we saw in the Champions League when City faced Monaco last season.
From what we saw during Bernardo’s performance against Feyenoord in the Champions League opener last week, we can be confident he can contribute even more when he’s called upon for the bigger matches this campaign.
David Silva won’t pass the torch just yet, but Bernardo will be ready to take it sooner rather than later.