Riyad Mahrez Needs To Prove Himself At Man City Like Sterling & Sane Before Him

Riyad Mahrez could be forgiven if he has already become disillusioned with life at Manchester City.

The club’s record signing as been relegated to cup duties in recent weeks. He wasn’t in the match-day squad for City’s last Premier League game against Huddersfield Town. He was also an unused substitue for the games against league leaders Liverpool and Wolverhampton Wanderers.

In the meantime, Riyad has been used in cup ties against Burton Albion and Rotherham. The Algerian top flight winner has impressed in those outings against lower league sides scoring twice and creating three assists.

The £60m winger has to learn that this is the way of it at Man City.

Boss Pep Guardiola wants everything from his talent and isn’t scared to drop anyone if he wants to prove a point.

New signings sometimes struggle because Pep trusts the players that he has been working with for a longer period as they understand his expectations.

But Mahrez should see that as motivation. Just look at the two players that Riyad is fighting with for a place in the team.

Both Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling have had their issues with Guardiola.

At different times the Spanish coach has given Sterling or Sane the cold shoulder, dropped one of them or criticised them.

Just last year Pep stated Sane needed help to ‘grow up’ but Leroy reacted to that by saying Pep’s criticism would act as a motivation tool (via ESPN)

“I love challenges, especially with Pep Guardiola,”

“Criticism is normal in football. I only focus on myself. I want to improve myself.”

The German has responded with a strong season. So far he’s banged in eight league strikes and created nine assists. That’s in twenty-one appearances.

Sterling has also been a top performer, playing in twenty Premier League fixtures and grabbing ten goals and seven assists.

Now Mahrez hasn’t had as many starts but he’s still figured in nineteen league games and he’s scored five times and has two assists. That’s not bad but it’s not as good as the other two. Mahrez is still settling into the system but Pep will in particular want to see the wide-man create more chances for his central striker.

According to stats website Whoscored; Sane and Sterling are taking more shots at goal, have superior passing success rates, making more tackles, producing greater key passes and completing more successful dribbles.

Those stats prove that both Raheem and Leroy deserve to be in the team ahead of Mahrez. They’ve been more efficient and give Guardiola what he wants from his wide players.

But as I’ve said, the duo have worked longer under Pep and have been dropped in the past. Riyad Mahrez has to use his time out of the team to understand what his coach wants to see from his attacking players. Stay on the wings and be direct.

As long as Riyad works hard in training, listens to his boss and impresses when he gets his chance then he like Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling before him will win Pep Guardiola’s trust and get more starts.

If he decides to go in a huff and not adapt, then he will be kept out of the starting line-up and he could even be moved on!

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