Confidence In Youth:
Seven of the starting eleven were twenty-three or under. Danilo (26) and Ilkay Gundogan (27) were two of the four older heads on the field last night, and even comparative pensioner Yaya Toure and Claudio Bravo, only pulled the average age up to 24.6!
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Phil Foden became the youngest Englishman to start a Champions League game, but there was more to Pep’s selection than that. First off, we have the young center back pairing of Stones and Laporte.
With a decade, or more, left of their careers this was a good game to try to figure out some chemistry. I think you’ll find as the Premier League gets wrapped up, Pep may use this pairing in the final games.
The same could be said of Foden and Diaz, with the latter making a decent impact after being brought on. With focus on the bigger picture, Pep has now given eight (including Brahim Diaz) a good run at a high level of competition.
The result clearly wasn’t important as Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero remained on the bench, even after FC Basel went ahead on the night. Experience gained tonight will pay us back many times over toward the end of the season.