| 14.9°C Dublin

Pep hails new option in youngster Delap: 'He is a different striker than we have in terms of physicality'

With his squad depleted by injury and illness, City boss may have to trust in youth

Close

Manchester City's Liam Delap. Photo: PA

Manchester City's Liam Delap. Photo: PA

PA

Manchester City's Liam Delap. Photo: PA

Pep Guardiola will keep Liam Delap in Manchester City's senior squad to help cope with an injury crisis that has left him with just 13 first-team players to face Leicester City tomorrow.

Delap (17) scored on his City debut this week in the Carabao Cup against Bournemouth and Guardiola believes that the teenager's powerful build gives his team a different dimension to their attack.

Guardiola also needs numbers ahead of tomorrow's clash with Leicester and the cup tie at Burnley on Wednesday, with Delap poised to feature again.

Sergio Aguero, Aymeric Laporte, Bernardo Silva, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Joao Cancelo are among the injured for tomorrow and Ilkay Gundogan is isolating with Covid-19.

"The situation we have right now, we have just 13 players available in the first team," said Guardiola. "We need the academy, not just for the training sessions. They can be selected during the games.

"With the problems we have up front, of course Liam will stay with us. We'll see if we need him or use him."

Delap (right) arrived from Derby County a year ago and has earned comparisons with Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland for his powerful frame and explosiveness in the penalty area. Compared to Aguero and Gabriel Jesus, he is a more old-fashioned No 9.

He has played for England's Under-17s and City's congested fixture list means he could get more opportunities this season.

"We cannot forget, like the same way we spoke about Phil Foden in previous seasons, Liam's just 17 years old," Guardiola said. "He has a lot of things to improve, steps need their own time.

"He is a different striker than we have in terms of physicality, but we see in training sessions how good a finisher he is. Now we are calm, still working, but we are delighted with his performance."

Delap's father Rory, the former Stoke City and Republic of Ireland full-back, was in the stands as a scout watching his son mark his debut by finding the top corner.

Although, later in the game he was booked for a late challenge on Bournemouth goalkeeper Mark Travers.

"I think that's more from his mum, to be honest. But I think you need that, he's always had it," Delap Snr recently told the 'Forever Blue' podcast.

"Sometimes it can boil over, but he'll learn as he goes on. Bookings and red cards will come back to bite him and he'll end up missing games.

"But there's no point taking that out of his game, otherwise he wouldn't be the player he is."

Delap Jnr found out he was in the team on the morning of the Bournemouth game, leaving little time to build up nerves.

He says he is learning from training with world-class players in City's first team.

"I just want to take every opportunity that I can, work my hardest and see where it takes me," Delap Jnr said. "If I get more nights like Thursday and they keep happening, I can't complain.

"It was a great experience, playing with such great players, some of the best in the world, there is nothing better for such a young boy.

"Training with these guys every day, learning just little details about the game. It's just getting the knowledge and adding it to my game. Pep just congratulated me on the goal, the win - I was buzzing."

Meanwhile, City will step up their efforts to land Sevilla centre-back Jules Kounde after the French defender played in the Uefa Super Cup defeat to Bayern Munich.

The 21-year-old has been targeted to bolster Guardiola's defence, which would allow Nicolas Otamendi to leave the Etihad Stadium. Sevilla say they have received a bid for their player but nothing has been agreed.

With the transfer window closing a week on Monday, Manchester City are expected to launch another attempt to land the centre-back next week.

Otamendi, who has two years left on his current contract, missed the Bournemouth win with a "niggle".

© Daily Telegraph, London

  • Manchester City v Leicester City, Live, Tomorrow, Sky Sports, 4.30
  • Telegraph.co.uk