Whilst Phillips is out for the foreseeable after undergoing shoulder surgery, Rodri would always be starting in such a game as the Manchester Derby.
Rodri will need to take some tips on the tactical fouls from Ferna if he wants to ensure he’s breaking up any counterattacking opportunities.
Some have criticised the Belgian for off form of late. However, he’s managed 6 assists and a goal in 7 Premier League games so far – not bad considering.
Even when he’s not at his best, he has the ability to carry the team to important results. He’ll be very much needed.
City skipper helps to control games his intelligence and chill, which will be crucial in such a high intensity game – remember Villa?
I expect he will do his defensive duties when needed, though I wonder how he will manage with the physicality of the game considering his rumoured back issues?