Gvardiol Proving His Worth After Early Struggles, Says Guardiola 

Football - Premier League - Fulham v Manchester City - Craven Cottage, London, Britain - May 11, 2024 Manchester City's Josko Gvardiol celebrates scoring their third goal with Phil Foden. (Reuters)
Football - Premier League - Fulham v Manchester City - Craven Cottage, London, Britain - May 11, 2024 Manchester City's Josko Gvardiol celebrates scoring their third goal with Phil Foden. (Reuters)
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Gvardiol Proving His Worth After Early Struggles, Says Guardiola 

Football - Premier League - Fulham v Manchester City - Craven Cottage, London, Britain - May 11, 2024 Manchester City's Josko Gvardiol celebrates scoring their third goal with Phil Foden. (Reuters)
Football - Premier League - Fulham v Manchester City - Craven Cottage, London, Britain - May 11, 2024 Manchester City's Josko Gvardiol celebrates scoring their third goal with Phil Foden. (Reuters)

Manchester City defender Josko Gvardiol struggled to find his feet at the Premier League club but is now growing in confidence after his goal-scoring exploits in the title run-in, manager Pep Guardiola said.

The 22-year-old left back joined the treble winners from German club RB Leipzig in August, signing a five-year deal for a reported fee of 90 million euros ($97 million).

The Croatian international, who had not scored in his previous 32 appearances for City, has now netted five times in his last seven matches to help his side's push towards a record fourth successive title.

"There is an aspect in football and in life and that is confidence, confidence when you do things and it's game time, a lot of games and talking about the not proper things that you do and the good things," Guardiola told reporters after Saturday's 4-0 thrashing of Fulham.

"And you cannot forget it is his first Premier League season... so it is not easy to handle it and he struggled in the beginning a little bit, because he came into a team who had just won the treble and he was a little bit shy.

"He signed for many, many years and he has proved to himself that he can do it and play with us."

Guardiola gave his players three days off after their 5-1 home win over Wolverhampton Wanderers this month.

"On the first day, he (Gvardiol) went into the training center to make a recovery, so his focus is football and he wants to be better and better and when this happens, you have something special on your hands," the Spaniard said.

City, second in the table with 85 points and one behind Arsenal who have played a game more, travel to fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur on Tuesday.



Teenagers Yamal and Cubarsi Included in Young Spain Squad for European Championship 

Barcelona striker Lamine Yamal celebrates during the LaLiga match FC Barcelona vs Rayo Vallecano, in Barcelona, Spain, 19 May 2024. (EPA)
Barcelona striker Lamine Yamal celebrates during the LaLiga match FC Barcelona vs Rayo Vallecano, in Barcelona, Spain, 19 May 2024. (EPA)
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Teenagers Yamal and Cubarsi Included in Young Spain Squad for European Championship 

Barcelona striker Lamine Yamal celebrates during the LaLiga match FC Barcelona vs Rayo Vallecano, in Barcelona, Spain, 19 May 2024. (EPA)
Barcelona striker Lamine Yamal celebrates during the LaLiga match FC Barcelona vs Rayo Vallecano, in Barcelona, Spain, 19 May 2024. (EPA)

Spain is set to take a young squad to the European Championship, with teenagers Lamine Yamal and Pau Cubarsi among the players picked by coach Luis de la Fuente on Monday.

Fermín López, the 21-year-old Barcelona forward, also was included in the list of 29 players announced by the coach, who will have to cut three names from the squad for the tournament in Germany. López has yet to make his debut with the national team.

“They have talent and motivation,” De la Fuente said. “They are very versatile players. Fermín will take a leap forward with this call-up. I hope that they will benefit and show all the potential that they have.”

Ayoze Pérez was another of the few surprises on the list, with the 30-year-old Real Betis forward getting his first call-up to the senior squad.

Other strikers included Atletico Madrid’s Álvaro Morata and Real Madrid’s Joselu, as well as the 16-year-old Yamal of Barcelona and 21-year-old Nico Williams of Athletic Bilbao.

Along with Cubarsi, the 17-year-old Barcelona center back, other defenders included Madrid’s Nacho Fernández and 38-year-old veteran Jesús Navas of Sevilla.

Forwards Marco Asensio of Paris Saint-Germain, Pablo Sarabia of Wolverhampton, Brais Méndez of Real Sociedad and Gerard Moreno of Villarreal were left out.

Veteran Atletico midfielder Koke Resurrección also didn’t make the squad.

Spain will be aiming for a record fourth European Championship. It was drawn into Group B with Italy, Albania and Croatia.

“It’s a very difficult group but we are prepared,” De la Fuente said. “We will be fighting to be among the title contenders in the end.”

Spain will play warmups against Andorra and Northern Ireland before heading to Germany.