Zee Media Bureau/Dattaraj Thaly
New Delhi: Manuel Pellegrini came out in defense of himself for opting to omit English players from the line-up that played against Arsenal in the Community Shield.
The Manchester City boss fielded all foreign players as part of his first eleven during the 3-0 defeat against the Gunners. Four English players, part of the squad, were all relegated to the bench.
Apart from Frank Lampard, who is on loan at City until Major League Soccer resumes in USA, none of the 60-year-old`s summers signing comprise of English players.
In fact, England international Jack Rodwell was sold to Sunderland as he wanted guaranteed first-team action every week in the Premier League.
The summer recruits of the Chilean includes a Brazilian - Fernando, two Argentinians - Bruno Zuculin and Willy Caballero, and two Frenchman - Eliaquim Mangala and Bacary Sagna.
However, Pellegrini argued that composition of nationality in his team was not an issue and putting out the best eleven was of paramount importance. He even pointed out the sole Englishman (Jack Wilshere) in the Arsenal team that won the Community Shield.
As of now, the only English players in the Manchester City squad are Joe Hart, Joleon Lescott, Micah Richards and James Milner. Hart, who is England`s number one goalkeeper, lost his place in the side to Caballero in the match against Arsenal. Pellegrini had also publicly stated that the English keeper would have a hard time in retaining his undisputed status as City`s number one keeper if he did not work hard to improve his performance.
Further, 23-year-old French defender Eliaquim Mangala was signed from Porto for £32m. He will partner captain Vincent Kompany, who just signed a new five-year-contract, at the center of defense, which means English defender Micah Richards and Joleon Lescott will get very little first-team opportunities. At most, the duo will be used in the FA and League cup.
Workhorse midfielder James Milner will be utilized as a substitute purely for his work ethic and could be the sole Englishman to make it to Pellegrini`s scheme of things in 2014-15. But if initial trends are anything to go by, City fans must get use to watching eleven foreign players representing their club in the Premier League as well as Europe.